BREAKING: the Maria Fire consumes 8,730 acres, evacuating 8,000 residents

Emma Yakel, Reporter

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As trick-or-treaters were traversing the streets on the night of Oct. 31, 2019, a brush fire was erupting between Somis and Santa Paula on the south mountain next to Bradley Road and Solano Verde Drive. This wildfire which is being labeled as the Maria Fire spread 8,730 acres within 12 hours, has consumed 2 houses and is not showing signs of stopping as the Friday after it began, 0% containment was recorded.

The Ventura County Fire Department has sent in over 500 members who are fighting the fire both on the ground and in the air. Due to the containment being low, there are evacuations in place for around 8,000 residents as 1,800 structures are being threatened by the blaze. In the afternoon of Nov. 1, mandatory evacuations extended from the east of West Los Angeles Avenue to the south of South Mountain Road as well as from the west of Balcom Canyon Road and to the north of the 118 Freeway. Evacuations also were applied to the south of the 126 Freeway as well as to the north of the Santa Clara River, the east of Campanula Avenue and the west of South Mountain Road.

The weather is more suitable for fighting against the flames compared to previous days as the wind gusts have died down from 70 mph to an expected 35 mph. Nevertheless, some areas are still under red flag warnings so there are lingering concerns about the effects of the surrounding weather.  

Currently, the following school districts are closed: Mesa Union, Mupu Elementary, Oxnard Union High, Santa Paula Unified, Briggs, Rio, Pleasant Valley, Hueneme Elementary and Santa Clara Elementary. Along with these, Architecture, Construction and Engineering Charter High School (ACE) and University Preparation are closed. For those that are evacuating, a shelter can be found at the Camarillo Community Center

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