160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! LOCKWOOD VALLEY – Fire crews guarded homes Wednesday as a massive wildfire crept within a half-mile of hundreds of dwellings in rural Ventura County. More than 220 fire engines were dispatched to mountain communities threatened by the Day Fire. Crews cleared brush near houses and positioned equipment and hoses to fight the slow-moving flames. “You’ve got to keep your guard up. You never know what’s going to happen,” said Kern County Firefighter Bucky Tucker, whose strike team was protecting houses in Lake of the Woods. Hazy smoke shrouded the area as the fire swallowed pine trees and other vegetation. The weather grew hot and dry by midday, but winds remained mostly light. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe Christmas Truce of 1914 proved that peace is possibleNearly 4,000 firefighters were deployed to fight the blaze in Los Padres National Forest about 70 miles north of Los Angeles. It was 42 percent contained after chewing through more than 148,884 acres, or 232.6 square miles, of wilderness. Residents of Lockwood Valley, Pine Mountain Club, Pinon Pines, Cuddy Valley, Camp Scheideck and Lake of the Woods were urged to evacuate, but many chose to stay. The community of Frazier Park was under a lower-level alert. In Pinon Pines, firefighters used the wait to catch up on needed sleep. Two dozed in the shadow of their firetruck. Elsewhere, hand crews, aided by water-dropping aircraft, cut fire lines around the flames. Lookouts perched on ridges used radios to warn firefighters if erratic winds threatened to send flames in a different direction and block escape routes, Ventura County fire Capt. Barry Parker said. The fire has been burning since Labor Day and has flared several times, sometimes covering thousands of acres in hours. “It’s frustrating. You keep putting the fire to bed and it gets up and makes runs on you,” Parker said.