New brush fire erupts in Ventura County

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. —  The 118 Freeway in Simi Valley partially reopened Monday afternoon as crews managed to stop a 105-acre blaze from spreading in Simi Valley, one of two new fires that erupted as firefighters continued to battle the Hill and Woolsey fires nearby.

The brush fire, dubbed the Rocky Fire, and later the Peak Fire, sparked in Simi Valley near the 118 Freeway and Rocky Peak Road around 10:20 a.m.

Around the same time, the Lynn Fire was reported near the intersection of  Hillcrest Drive and Ventu Park Road in Thousand Oaks.

By 10:30 a.m. firefighters were making ‘good progress’ on the 15-acre Lynn Fire with “water dropping copters helping from above.”

Officials shut down the eastbound lanes of the 118 at Yosemite Avenue and the westbound lanes at Topanga Canyon, according to California Highway Patrol. The agency urged motorists to avoid the freeway in the Simi Valley and Chatsworth areas and recommended the 126 or 101 Freeway as alternative routes.

The nearby Hill and Woolsey fires continued to burn in Ventura County.

The National Weather Service added that wind speeds would be persistent in the area as  “critical Red Flag fire weather conditions continue.”

The L.A. Sheriff’s Department said  an immediate evacuation order was issued for the Box Canyon and Lake Manor communities. In Ventura County,fire officials said no mandatory evacuation orders were in place and those near the fire were asked to shelter in place on Kuehner Drive.

The Peak Fire was threatening structures, Ventura County fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said, prompting a “full response” from Ventura County and L.A. city and county fire departments.

The new fires erupted as crews attempted to get an upper hand on the massive Woolsey Fire, which started east of Simi Valley on Thursday and moved toward the ocean in L.A. County. It claimed two lives in Malibu on Friday, and has burned more than 143 square miles, officials said.

That fire was about 20 percent contained as of Monday morning.

Meanwhile, the Hill Fire in Santa Rosa Valley appeared to be mostly under control at 4,531 acres and 80 percent containment.

Firefighters stopped the forward rate of speed at 105 acres and were beginning the map phase around 1:45 p.m., said LA County Sheriff’s Department.

This is a developing story. We will update this story with more information as more details become available.