A rapidly moving fire in southwest California torched oil fields and threatened homes as it blazed southward Tuesday, a fire official told CNN.
Nearly 130 firefighters battled the 300-acre blaze, which broke out Tuesday morning in Ventura County between the towns of Fillmore and Moorpark, Bill Nash of the Ventura County Fire Department told CNN. The fire, propelled by strong wind, had been covering about 100 acres per hour, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The Guiberson fire, as it was named, was heading toward Moorpark and a more populated area, Nash said. As the fire sped south, aerial footage showed some untouched ground colored by red flame retardant dropped by airborne units trying to keep the fire at bay. Oil pipelines connected to pumping rigs in the oil fields could be breached by the fire, which could be disastrous. If that happened, Nash said, workers would cut off the oil flow in the pipes to prevent the fire from spreading through the lines and causing an outburst of flames in another area.
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Nash said he is unsure how many pipelines run below the brush-covered fields. The Guiberson fire threatens homes, ranches and farmland, among other structures, Nash said. The Ventura County sheriff has called for voluntary evacuations for residents in a rural, unincorporated section of Moorpark where several ranches are also located, he said. Strong wind, grass and light brush are fueling the fire, whose embers are being flung as far as a mile from the flames, Nash said.