Crews battle 2 brush fires along 101 Freeway in Ventura amid high winds


Firefighters were working to put out a pair of brush fires that broke out amid high winds in Ventura Tuesday evening.

The Perkin Fire spread to about 50 acres after erupting around 4:30 p.m. in the area of 3270 Perkin Ave., near the Buenaventura Golf Course and Oxnard city limits, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.

The location is also near the 101 Freeway, and heavy traffic delays were expected as a result, officials said.

Around 5:40 p.m., Ventura County firefighters said the Perkin Fire was moving quickly and threatening structures. But minutes later, the Oxnard Fire Department tweeted there were no structures currently threatened.

Aerial video from Sky5 showed several spot fires spread along the bed of the Santa Clara River. Sheriff’s officials were working to move homeless people in the area to safety, the fire department said.

By 7 p.m., the Perkin Fire’s forward progress had slowed but a few structures remained threatened, according to Ventura County Fire Capt. Brian McGrath.

The second blaze, called the Main Incident, was reported shortly before 5:30 p.m. at 300 W. Main St., near the Ventura Pier and 101 Freeway. That fire was reported at 10 acres, authorities said.

Sky5 arrived above the downtown blaze at about 6:10 p.m., as it smoldered in vegetation along the freeway. The smoke was blowing away from the 101 as crews worked to contain the flames.

There was no threat to structures on the west end of town, Ventura city fire officials said.

McGrath asked the public to stay away from the burning areas, saying onlookers were impeding fire crews’ response.

A red flag warning remained in effect for Ventura, and several other parts of Southern California, until 10 p.m. Tuesday.

On Monday, the winds fanned the Cornell Fire in Santa Paula to at least 174 acres after the blaze was sparked by downed tree that fell onto a power line.

The causes behind Tuesday’s fires remained under investigation. Authorities planned to remain on scene overnight to monitor the blazes.

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