VENTURA, Calif. (AP) - Authorities closed a major freeway Thursday as flames from the largest and most destructive Southern California wildfire jumped lanes and churned toward coastal and mountain communities northwest of Los Angeles as crews kept an eye on unpredictable winds.
Calmer overnight conditions helped crews protect the Ventura County resort town of Ojai (OH'hi), where most of the 7,000 residents were under new evacuation orders following a big burst of wind late Wednesday.
Evacuations were also ordered for the first time in Santa Barbara County, where the coastal city of Carpinteria was under threat.
Melissa Rosenzweig, 47, was briefly back home Wednesday after evacuating from her Ventura house, which has been spared so far while most on her street had burned in the largest and most destructive of the region's fires.
In what may have been an early sign of the 140-square-mile fire getting new life, several thousand new evacuations were ordered Wednesday night in Ojai, a town of artists and resorts.