Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties sent dozens of law enforcement officers to assist Ventura County with evacuations and road closures due to wildfires east of Thousand Oaks and burning south toward Malibu.
Firefighting agencies from both counties also sent strike teams to help battle the two major fires that broke out less than 24 hours after 12 people were shot and killed at a popular Thousand Oaks restaurant and bar.
By Friday afternoon, the Hill and Woolsey fires had burned a combined total of nearly 30 square miles and forced the evacuation of more than 75,000 homes, including the entire town of Malibu.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office and the Santa Barbara Police Department sent a combined total of 36 peace officers to Ventura County on Thursday to help with mandatory evacuations, sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said.
Friday morning, the two agencies sent an additional 26 officers.
More law enforcement officers were sent south from San Luis Obispo County after the California Office of Emergency Services requested assistance Thursday, a SLO County Sheriff’s Department spokesman said.
“We have currently deployed 16 deputies to assist Ventura County Sheriff's Office as needed to help with evacuations and maintain road closures in the area,” said sheriff’s spokesman Tony Cipolla.
“Additionally, the Pismo Beach Police Department is sending two officers, the Cuesta College Police Department is sending one and the Cal Poly University Police Department is also sending one,” Cipolla said.
Cipolla said the Sheriff's Department would continue to coordinate with other local law enforcement agencies to provide additional personnel if requested.
Firefighting forces have also been pouring southward to assist on the fire lines.
Santa Barbara County Fire Department sent a five-engine strike team, two bulldozers and a hand crew to the Hill fire, public information officer Mike Eliason said.
By Friday afternoon, the county strike team had been reassigned to the Woolsey fire and was battling to save homes in the Calabasas area, where several reportedly were destroyed.
“We have one of our air units, Copter 308, down there helping out as well,” Eliason added.
Hoover said the Santa Barbara County Sheriff/Fire Air Support Unit's Copter 308 was deployed Thursday to conduct water drops throughout the night.
Eliason said the county also sent another mixed strike team consisting of two Santa Barbara City Fire Department engines and one engine each from County Fire, Montecito Fire and Carpinteria Fire.
Lompoc Fire Department sent one strike team leader trainee but no engines or other resources as of Friday afternoon.
No one could be reached Friday afternoon at the Santa Maria Fire Department to see what resources that agency might have sent.
A Five Cities Fire Authority spokesman said that agency sent a brush engine and a strike team leader trainee to the Woolsey fire.
He said the trainee and engine were on the fire line with engines from Atascadero, Carpinteria, Summerland and Vandenberg Air Force Base fire departments.
A spokeswoman for Cal Fire/San Luis Obispo County Fire Department said Friday afternoon the combined agency sent “pretty much everything — engines, water tenders, ’dozers, overheads, aircraft. Oh, and hand crews.”
However, she didn’t know how many units of each had been dispatched.
The Woolsey fire, which jumped Highway 101, forced the closure of the freeway from Reyes Adobe Road in Agoura Hills to Valley Circle Boulevard in Calabasas, and Highway 1 was closed from north of Point Dume to the junction with Interstate 10 in Santa Monica.
But a Caltrans spokesman said the closures were having no impacts on traffic along alternate routes, including highways 41, 166, 126 and 118.
“We’ve had a couple of phone calls from people asking about the Thousand Oaks area, but we’re not hearing about anything from our dispatchers,” said Jim Shivers, public information officer for Caltrans District 5.
“Everything looks super green throughout the Central Coast,” he said, referring to the color used on Caltrans interactive online QuickMap to indicate the areas of smoothest flowing traffic.
“It may be that people traveling from the north to Southern California realized there are closures in place and are taking routes like Interstate 5 through the Central Valley,” Shivers added.