The fire was reported about 7:35 a.m. in the 4400 block of Olivas Park Drive. About 1.5 acres of manure and hay had burned by late Wednesday as firefighters tried to keep the blaze from spreading into the Santa Clara River bottom, officials said.
"Right now, we're taking sections of the hay and manure and making sure it's out," Glen Albright, a fire inspector for the city of Ventura Fire Department, said as he explained the strategy for extinguishing the blaze. Albright said he did not know how long it would take to completely put the fire out, saying it would certainly not be done by daybreak Thursday.
Bill Nash, a spokesman for the Ventura County Fire Department, said earlier Wednesday that the fire "could burn for one or two days."
"One of the things we're looking at very carefully is that east winds are expected to turn around, and when they do, they could push the fire or embers toward the river bottom," he said.
City and county fire crews were at the scene, along with environmental health officials and the California Department of Fish and Game, Nash said.
The fire was burning at the former California Mushroom Farm near the city golf course and the Olivas Adobe Historical Park. No roads were closed, but the Olivas Links Golf Course closed and visitors were asked to leave the Olivas Adobe.
More than 80 firefighters were at the scene. Bulldozers and hand crews were working to spread the hay, and "copious amounts of water" were being applied, Nash said.
The amount of water being used, however, created the potential for hazardous runoff.
County health officials were recommending people in the area to avoid strenuous outdoor activity and stay indoors. Fire and health officials were monitoring the environment.
No injuries had been reported, and the cause of the fire was under investigation.
In 2001, two fires burned in the same area. In March of that year, a 3.2-acre mulch fire burned for a week. In December 2001, another fire was extinguished quickly.
A decomposing mulch pile was blamed for starting the 2009 Guiberson Fire, which threatened nearly 1,000 homes and buildings between Moorpark and Fillmore.
In 2010, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors passed safety rules limiting the use of mulch in unincorporated areas to prevent fires. Gardeners have to get permits if they want to store more than 200 cubic yards of mulch. Farmers must notify fire officials if they have large piles of mulch and compost, which can heat up and spontaneously combust.
The site of Wednesday's fire was within Ventura city limits and did not fall under the county rules, said Glen Albright, a fire inspector for the city of Ventura Fire Department. The mushroom farm, however, was within allowable limits of mulch and manure, he said.
The mushroom farm shut down several weeks ago.
Written by Ventura County Star
Courtesy of YellowBrix - YellowBrix