Wind-driven California blaze mostly contained
November 26, 2009
ANAHEIM, Calif (AP) – Santa Ana winds fanned a fire across 80 acres of Southern California hills before firefighters reduced it Wednesday to a smoldering – but still dangerous – black scar.
Containment lines around 90 percent of the fire were completed by Wednesday night, with full containment expected by noon Thursday, the Orange County Fire Authority said.
No homes were threatened, but firefighters were watching in case winds whipped the fire back to life.
About 200 firefighters and a helicopter were on the scene. One firefighter suffered a minor eye injury.
The fire erupted Tuesday as Santa Ana winds buffeted parts of the region. The National Weather Service said the winds would continue through Thanksgiving morning.
Advisories for 35 mph winds were issued widely and “red flag” warnings of fire danger were posted for the Santa Ana Mountains across Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties. Gusts up to 55 mph were recorded in Los Angeles County.
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Blowing out of the northeast and pushing damp ocean air offshore, the Santa Anas are double trouble: The dry air slashes humidity levels and saps moisture from vegetation, making it ready to burn, while fierce gusts can turn an otherwise routine fire into a fast-moving conflagration.
Midday temperatures were in the upper 70s and low 80s in many areas Wednesday.
Forecasters predicted cooler weather by Friday, with possible showers in the mountains. Another round of warm, dry offshore winds was predicted Sunday.