Easy Fire spread rapidly amongst strong winds, threatening Ventura County

Firefighters+unspool+hose+as+the+flames+of+the+Easy+Fire+approach+East+Olsen+Road+in+Simi+Valley%2C+Calif.+on+Wednesday%2C+Oct.+30.+Photo+credit%3A+Evan+Reinhardt
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Easy Fire spread rapidly amongst strong winds, threatening Ventura County

Firefighters unspool hose as the flames of the Easy Fire approach East Olsen Road in Simi Valley, Calif. on Wednesday, Oct. 30. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

Firefighters unspool hose as the flames of the Easy Fire approach East Olsen Road in Simi Valley, Calif. on Wednesday, Oct. 30. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

Firefighters unspool hose as the flames of the Easy Fire approach East Olsen Road in Simi Valley, Calif. on Wednesday, Oct. 30. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

Firefighters unspool hose as the flames of the Easy Fire approach East Olsen Road in Simi Valley, Calif. on Wednesday, Oct. 30. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

By Whitney Bussell

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The Easy Fire erupted early this morning just after 6 a.m. beginning with 30 mph winds. The Ventura County Firefighter Department acted swiftly as evacuations needed to happen fast.

At 10 a.m. it was reported that the fire spread to 1,300 acres according to a tweet made by the VCFD PIO.

The scene from the Reagan Library was both dark and troubling when the Moorpark Reporter arrived on scene.

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The statue of President Ronald Reagan on his horse is covered in smoke and ash as the Easy Fire burns around the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. on Wednesday, Oct. 30. Photo credit: Ryan Bough

In the beginning hours of the fire, Supervisory Curator of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum stated, “the Ronald Reagan Library is not currently threatened.”

This later changed as wind speeds picked up and continuously shifted directions. The fire had no limits as it spanned larger by the minute, fueled by gusts of up to 65 mph.

VCFD Chief Dan Arnold explained procedures regarding the homes threatened just below the Reagan Library, “You’ll do whatever you can to protect the home and keep it from catching on fire.”

VCFD partnered with over a dozen surrounding local fire departments in order to attack the hurricane level winds head on.

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An aerial emergency helicopter drops a wave of water onto the blaze of the Easy Fire on the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 30, in Simi Valley, Calif. Photo credit: Ryan Bough

Planes and helicopters swarmed the area, dropping water and fire retardant over nearby homes and the Reagan Library. Helicopters were able to refill at the nearby Wood Ranch Reservoir.

Simi Valley Police Department Senior Officer Trujillo expressed concern in regards to the Reagan Library, “never one [fire] this close to the library,” stated Trujillo.

Residents in the evacuation zones had little time to prepare. A local woman who wished to remain anonymous shared the fear she experienced as her grandmother’s home was in direct line of the fire. Relief rushed over the woman as she spoke of the moment she learned that her grandmother was taken from the home at the last minute.

As the flames spread up the hillside toward the Reagan Library, efforts shifted and hand crews began digging trenches in hopes of saving the library.

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Firefighters Colby Raden, left, and Omar Lopez observe as the flames of the Easy Fire approach East Olsen Road on Wednesday, Oct. 30, in Simi Valley, Calif. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

Chad Cook, incident commander for the Easy Fire spoke at the 12 p.m. press conference.

Cook elaborated on how the fire grew at such a fast speed, “the fire out-flanked us very rapidly today pushed by those 40-50 mph winds. We did experience gusts up to 65 mph this morning.”

VCFD and partnering agencies are working diligently to contain the fire. The primary concern is protecting structures and getting people out of harm’s way.

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Firefighter Omar Lopez, left, secures the hose as Colby Raden sprays the approaching Easy Fire on Wednesday, Oct. 30, in Simi Valley, Calif. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

Cook assured the community, “We feel we have a good contingency plan out in front of it in the event that the fire does cross the 23 freeway.”

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