Firefighters are reporting progress in efforts to control a massive brush fire in Ventura County.
The 9400 acre Maria fire is 20% contained, up from 0% on Friday. There was no visible flame from the fire in the Santa Paula area Saturday morning, just some light smoke. The area east of the city was a hot spot area midday Friday, as the fire tried to push across the Santa Clara Riverbed. Firefighters on the ground aided by air tankers, and helicopters stopped the flareup of the blaze.
Thousands of people are still facing mandatory evacuations, with an estimated 2500 structures threatened by the blaze which started on South Mountain Thursday night. The strong Santa Ana winds have subsided, but there still could be lighter wind in the Ventura and Los Angeles County valley and mountain areas.
Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen has said while the wind might not be as strong, it's creating another problem. Changing wind directions could push flames into unburned fuel. Hundreds of firefighters have been staged in the Santa Paula area to be ready for any flareups.