Woolsey Fire in Ventura County nearly doubles overnight to 70,000 acres, Hwy. 101 still closed

Crews made little progress overnight battling the two wind-whipped fires that have scorched thousands of acres and engulfed an untold number of homes and other structures in southern Ventura and northern Los Angeles counties.

The Woolsey Fire, which erupted Thursday afternoon in Woolsey Canyon east of Simi Valley, nearly doubled to around 70,000 acres with no containment, Cal Fire said Saturday morning.

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The smaller Hill Fire — which also started Thursday afternoon, in the Hill Canyon area of Santa Rosa Valley, and quickly charred thousands of acres and jumped Highway 101 — was at just over 4,500 acres and 25 percent contained at approximately 8 a.m., according to Cal Fire.

The two blazes — which have sent large plumes of dark smoke towering into the sky over scenic Malibu beaches and engulfed the surrounding hillsides in flame, evoking apocalyptic-type imagery — have resulted in mass evacuations and the closures of a number of major highways in the area.

Highway closures, according to Caltrans are as follows:

Highway 101 from Reyes Adobe Road in Agoura Hills to Valley Circle Blvd. in Los Angeles remains closed. Highway 1 is closed at the Ventura-Los Angeles County line and from the I-10 junction in L.A. to Topanga Canyon Blvd. to the north.

Highway 1 is also closed 6.7 miles south of Oxnard at Wood Road to 8 miles south Oxnard at Las Posas Road.

In L.A., I-10 is closed at Lincoln Blvd. in Santa Monica.

All evacuations orders from Friday remain in place.

Evacuation center locations, road closure and school closure information for the fires can be found on the Ventura County emergency page here and through the county hotline at 805-465.-650.

Click here to check daily air quality reports from the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District, and click here for information from Ventura County’s Air Pollution Control District.

The Woolsey Fire started around 2:25 p.m. Thursday and had destroyed a significant number of homes and other buildings as of Friday morning, according to authorities.

Ventura and Los Angeles county agencies have a unified command of the incident, in addition to CalFire.

The blaze prompted evacuations of more than 75,000 homes in Ventura and L.A. counties.

The Woolsey Fire was very active Friday afternoon in Westlake Village, Calabasas, Bell Canyon, and the area between Highway 101 and Pacific Coast Highway in the Malibu area, they said.

Crews had made more progress on the Hill Fire, which authorities said was burning in an area with “sparse fuel.”

The blaze threatened several communities and institutions including the Point Mugu Naval Base and California State University, Channel Islands campus, according to authorities. Approximately 15,000 residents had been evacuated.

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli contributed to this report.
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