CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) - Cool, moist air moving into Southern
California on Sunday helped firefighters build containment lines around a
huge wildfire burning through coastal mountains.
Fire crews took advantage of improved conditions as
the high winds and hot, dry air of recent days were replaced by the
normal Pacific air, significantly reducing fire activity.
The 44-square-mile blaze at the western end of the Santa Monica Mountains was 60 percent surrounded.
Full containment was expected Monday, according to Ventura County fire officials.
The progress led authorities to lift all remaining evacuation orders.
"We've really transitioned from a fire attack to a
mop-up patrol," Nick Schuler, battalion chief for the California
Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, told the Ventura County
One firefighter was injured in the Newbury Park area while battling the blaze and was taken to a hospital, the newspaper said.
The National Weather Service said an approaching
low pressure system would bring a 20 percent chance of showers Sunday
afternoon, with the likelihood increasing into the night and on Monday.
Nearly 2,000 firefighters using engines, bulldozers and aircraft worked to corral the blaze.
Firefighting efforts were focused on the fire's east side, rugged canyons that are a mix of public and private lands.
The change in the weather was also expected to
bring gusty winds to some parts of Southern California, but well away
from the fire area.
Despite its size and speed of growth, the fire that
broke out Thursday and quickly moved through neighborhoods of Camarillo
Springs and Thousand Oaks has caused damage to just 15 homes, though it
has threatened thousands.
The fire also swept through Point Mugu State Park, a
hiking and camping area that sprawls between those communities and the
ocean. Park district Superintendent Craig Sap said two old, unused
ranch-style homes in the backcountry burned. Restrooms and campgrounds
also were damaged. Sap estimated repairs would cost $225,000.
Grateful residents hung signs thanking firefighters for saving their homes.
The blaze is one of more than 680 wildfires in the state so far this year - about 200 more than average.
East of Los Angeles in Riverside County, a new fire
that broke out Saturday afternoon burned 650 acres of wilderness south
of Banning. It was 75 percent contained Sunday. Banning has been flanked
by a nearly 5-square-mile fire to the north which destroyed one home
shortly after it broke out Wednesday. That fire was fully contained late
In Northern California, a fire that has blackened
11 square miles of wilderness in Tehama County was a threat to a pair of
commercial properties near the community of Butte Meadows, according to
Thunderstorms were expected to bring erratic winds but little rain to the area about 200 miles north of San Francisco.
Nearly 1,300 firefighters were on the lines and the blaze, which started Wednesday, was 40 percent contained.
Saturday, December 7 2013 12:07 AM EST2013-12-07 05:07:29 GMT
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Friday, December 6 2013 5:28 PM EST2013-12-06 22:28:12 GMT
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