Gusty winds: Quick, aggressive response
quickly extinguishes orchard fire

May 02, 2014
Santa Paula News

With high temperatures and strong wind gusts, what could have turned into a raging wildfire instead was stopped in its tracks by an aggressive response by firefighters Tuesday afternoon.

The fire was reported shortly after 1 p.m. April 29 in avocado orchards along the 15000 block of West Telegraph Road, about halfway between city limits and Briggs Road. 

The closest intersection was Clow Road, which the incident was dubbed, after firefighters from Santa Paula and Ventura County Fire departments found a 30 by 30 blaze that was causing spotting in other areas of the orchard due to gusty east winds. 

Due to the high heat and gusty winds a first alarm brush fire response was ordered including a hand crew flown in a Ventura County Sheriff’s Department helicopter and a bulldozer.

In all, about 85 emergency responders came to the scene but much of the response was cancelled when first arriving crews were able establish a line around the main fire and knock down the spot fires. The helicopter did remain on scene for monitoring to make sure wind-carried ambers had not ignited other hot spots.

Structures in the area were not damaged.

The cause of the fire is being investigated.

All of Southern California, including Ventura County, was placed under a red flag warning for fire danger through Thursday due to the high temperatures and strong Santa Ana wind event.

Fire Chief Rick Araiza is asking everyone to use caution during times of high heat and winds. Make sure you remove all dry brush from your property, be careful using any equipment that might throw a spark and double check indoor smoke detectors to make sure they are working properly.

Also, stay hydrated, avoid strenuous activity and do not under any circumstances leave a child or animal in a vehicle... even on cooler days the interior of a vehicle can quickly heat up to a life-threatening temperature.

Another concern is power lines: if you see a downed power line of any kind do not go near it... call 911 immediately to report it! 

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