Ocean breeze helps firefighters working Ventura wildfire
VENTURA, Calif. – Aided by an ocean breeze, firefighters on Saturday began to get the upper hand on a 3,700-acre wildfire burning in the steep hills above this picturesque oceanfront city.The fire was 60 percent contained at nightfall, and firefighters hoped to have it fully surrounded by Tuesday night.After being fanned by fierce Santa Ana winds a day earlier, the blaze between Ventura and Ojai, about 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles, calmed as onshore breezes lowered the temperature and the humidity increased.Although the fire began Friday in the foothills above expensive Ventura homes, none was in immediate danger, said Joe Luna, a spokesman for the Ventura County Fire Department.”This fire pretty much laid down. We are not seeing any evidence of smoke and open flame,” Luna said. “The weather had turned in our favor. It’s a lot cooler, the winds have diminished considerably.”The fire was burning in rugged wilderness away from homes, but fire officials worried about the forecast return of the Santa Anas, the hot, dry winds that blow from the desert toward the ocean.A red flag warning – increased fire danger because of warm, dry and windy conditions – was in effect until Sunday night. The National Weather Service forecast wind gusts up to 55 mph in some areas Sunday morning.The cause of the fire remains under investigation.