A brush fire exploded in Ventura County Thursday night, quickly consuming more than 7,400 acres and burning structures.
The blaze, which has been dubbed the Maria fire, broke out atop South Mountain, just south of Santa Paula, and was moving toward the small agricultural towns of Somis and Saticoy. At least two stuctures have been lost, and 1,800 are threatened.
Authorities issued mandatory evacuations for a swath of homes bordered by South Mountain Road on the north, Highway 118 on the south, Los Angeles Avenue on the west and Balcom Canyon Road on the east. With night falling, firefighters were trying to box the fire in that area and keep the flames from spreading north toward Santa Paula and south toward Somis.