All evacuation orders issued due to the Cave Fire off State Route 154 were lifted Wednesday morning and residents were able to return home for Thanksgiving.
The evacuation orders included those who were removed from their home at the outset of the fire, as well as the residents who were under debris flow evacuation warnings. Residents were advised to stay alert to their surroundings and changing conditions, officials announced Wednesday morning.
State Route 154 from Cathedral Oaks Road to Painted Cave Road will remain closed other than to residents who live along the 154. East Camino Cielo and Painted Cave Road to Gibraltar Road is closed due to continued fire rehabilitation work in the area and the 154 is closed on the north end at the State Route 246 roundabout.
At the peak of the fire, which broke out around 4:15 p.m. Monday, some 600 firefighters had been assigned to the blaze. Ground crews were assisted by an aerial attack on Tuesday that included nine helicopters and 10 fixed-wing aircraft — including the massive DC-10 air tanker.
As of Wednesday night, the fire had charred an estimated 4,367 acres and was considered 20 percent contained. Resources from outside the area were demobilized Wednesday afternoon, while local resources will remain assigned to the fire until full containment in reached. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Capt. Daniel Bertucelli, fire spokesman, released a video on Twitter Wednesday afternoon with footage of county fire crews driving along the 154 shortly after the fire broke out. The video showed the hillside off the roadway fully engulfed in flames as embers blew past the vehicle. Viewers can distinctly hear the crackingly of fire as the vehicle drives along the roadway.
Firefighters paused operations for a time overnight Wednesday due to the risk of mudslides and debris flow caused by rainy conditions in the fire area. More rain is expected today, giving way to partly sunny skies Friday. More showers are possible this weekend, according to the National Weather Service in Oxnard.
While the 154 was reopened for residents, the highway is expected to remain closed indefinitely after guardrails and drainage facilities were damaged in the fire. Caltrans has earmarked $1.3 million for emergency repairs.