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CSU Channel Islands Ready to Reopen as Crews Gain on Camarillo Springs Fire

Firefighters get a boost from change in the weather; officials expect wildfire to be fully contained Monday

CSU Channel Islands will reopen Sunday afternoon, four days after the campus was evacuated not long after the Camarillo Springs Fire erupted a few miles away.

The wildfire, now sprawled over 43 square miles in and around the Santa Monica Mountains, was 56 percent contained late Saturday with full containment expected Monday.

The fire ignited early Thursday along southbound Highway 101 on the Conejo Grade. Propelled by high winds and feeding off scorching temperatures and single-digit humidity, the blaze tripled in size Friday, eventually growing to 28,000 acres and burning all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

Cooler, damper conditions moved in to the region Saturday, however, and the change in the weather helped firefighters gain the upper hand. Ventura County Fire Department officials said crews had reached 56 percent containment by nightfall Saturday, and anticipated that the fire would be 100 percent corralled Monday.

Although more than 4,000 homes were threatened by flames at one point, officials say just 15 houses and five commercial buildings were damaged. About two dozen other structures were damaged or destroyed, they said.

According to CalFire, all evacuations were lifted as of Saturday night. No deaths or serious injuries have been reported.

Nancy Gill, a spokeswoman for CSU Channel Islands, said the campus would reopen at 5 p.m. Sunday, with immediate access to the library, dining services and student housing. Classes and other school activities will resume Monday.

“The university has cleaned the interior of all buildings and is pumping fresh air into all usable buildings and living spaces,” Gill said in a statement Saturday. “Cleanup of the campus will continue over several weeks; however, the smell of smoke may continue to be present.”

More than 2,000 fire personnel were battling the Springs Fire, including about 65 from Santa Barbara County fire agencies. Crews and equipment from the Carpinteria-Summerland, Lompoc, Montecito, Santa Barbara City, Santa Barbara County and Santa Maria fire departments were deployed to the blaze.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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