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Simi Valley wildfire prompts evacuations amid heat warning

Simi Valley wildfire prompts evacuations amid heat warning

Simi Valley wildfire prompts evacuations amid heat warning

About 200 Ventura County firefighters are battling a wildfire in the hills of Simi Valley that has prompted the evacuation of area residents, according to county officials.

Fire officials said the blaze had grown to 133 acres by 6 p.m. and there were 60 homes in the evacuation zone.

The Sharp Fire began at 1:45 p.m. Wednesday and was initially estimated to span between 25 and 30 acres as it moved eastward Wednesday afternoon, according to VC Emergency. A little over two hours later, around 4:15 p.m., it had grown to about 75 acres and was still threatening structures in the area, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.

The wildfire was reported amid an excessive heat warning that is in effect from 11 a.m. Wednesday through Monday for all of Ventura County, excluding coastal areas.

Evacuations have been ordered for homes along Ditch Road.

Firefighters have been dropping fire retardant from helicopters to attack the blaze from the air, while those on the ground have been working to contain it on multiple fronts, including using bulldozers to build containment lines, according to county fire officials.

Just a day earlier, firefighters had warned of increased risks of forest fires with the upcoming season.

“Ventura County is now in fire season and we strongly encourage all members of our community to take proactive measures and maintain a high level of vigilance regarding fire safety,” the county fire department wrote on Facebook. “Given the alarming increase in wildfire activity in June alone, with a total of 41 wildfires (a 255% increase in a two-week period), it is clear that the risk is significant.”

A shelter for those who have been evacuated from their homes has been set up at the Rancho Santa Susana Community Center, located at 5005 E. Los Angeles Avenue in Simi Valley, according to county officials.

Residents can look at this live map to see where current evacuations are located. More information and ongoing updates for affected residents, including road closures, can be found here.

Please check back for updates on this developing story.