Holser Fire burns 3,000 acres, 20% contained

Firefighters from multiple agencies continue to battle the Holser Fire on Tuesday. Rick McClure/For The Signal

The fast-spreading Holser Fire in Piru reached 3,000 acres overnight, with approximately 20% containment as of Tuesday morning.

On Monday, the fire was said to be traveling east toward the L.A. County line, and by Tuesday, it had done so by a few hundred acres, according to Capt. Brian McGrath, a public information officer with the Ventura County Fire Department.

“It is moving still in a northeasterly direction, but not at the pace it was (Monday),” McGrath added. “We have quite a big inversion layer that’s keeping the fire activity really low right now.”

Overnight, firefighters took advantage of the lower temperatures and higher relative humidity to perform firing operations to secure the fire’s edge, taking advantage of natural barriers, according to a Tuesday morning incident update. Three firefighters were injured battling the blaze.

Though multiple structures were said to be threatened at last update Monday evening, no structures were reported damaged or destroyed Tuesday.

An evacuation warning remains in place for approximately 26 residences north to Lake Piru, south to Highway 126, excluding the community of Piru, east to the L.A. County line and west to Piru Road, with no road closures reported.

A map of the Holser Fire last updated Aug. 17, 2020, with the fire area shown in red. Courtesy of the Ventura County Office Of Emergency Services

While the cause of the fire is still under investigation, Ventura County Fire Department personnel first responded to reports of a vehicle fire that had spread to surrounding brush just south of Lake Piru on Holser Canyon Road, near Piru Canyon Road, around 2:15 p.m. Monday.

By 2:30 p.m., the blaze was reported to be 5 acres “in light, flashy fuels,” with winds pushing it east toward the L.A. County line, Ventura County Fire Department officials said in a tweet.

While resources remain scarce due to the significant number of fires burning in California, L.A. County Fire Department, U.S. Forest Service and CalFire personnel were called in to assist, including helicopters and air tankers diverted from the Lake and Ranch2 fires, to provide mutual aid to attack the fast-moving blaze. 

By 3:30 p.m., the fire had grown to at least 100 acres, and by 4 p.m. it was at 250, with voluntary evacuations commencing. The blaze continued to grow, reaching 800 acres by 5:30 p.m., with a final Monday evening acreage reporting the blaze had grown to at least 1,100, threatening structures on Santo Felicia and Lechler roads, to the south of Lake Piru.

About 400 firefighters remain on the scene Tuesday, including 25 fire engines, two water tenders, eight hand crews and four bulldozers.

A converted 747 firefighting aircraft flies over Val Verde on its way to Ventura County to battle the advancing Holser Fire Monday afternoon. August 17, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

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