VENTURA, Calif. – Hundreds of firefighters on Sunday mopped up the remnants of a wind-whipped wildfire that threatened dozens of Southern California coastal homes. Authorities said their new worry is a landslide if rain pounds the charred hills.
The fire that scorched about 1,230 acres north of Ventura was 75 percent contained, with full containment expected Tuesday, fire officials said.
The blaze erupted Friday night when high winds downed power lines on an oil field.
At its peak, the fire closed a 15-mile stretch of an adjacent, six-lane freeway, U.S. 101, and another major north-south route, the Pacific Coast Highway.
The winds eased Saturday, and the fire stopped growing. Evacuation orders for about 50 homes in Solimar Beach were rescinded.
On Sunday, about 300 firefighters were busy dousing hotspots in a stretch of coastal land that was thick with drought-dry brush.
"It's nuked — moonscaped," Ventura County fire Capt. Mike Lindbery told the Ventura County Star (http://bit.ly/1YHfObL) during a tour of the area.
In a heavy rain, the denuded soil could threaten nearby railroad tracks, U.S. 101 and the Pacific Coast Highway.
"Gravity's going to take it where it wants to go," Lindbery said, "and where it wants to go is down on the highway, across the railroad tracks and right into whatever is in its way."