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Archive for Monday, September 25, 2006

Calmer winds help in wildfire battle

September 25, 2006

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— Helicopters lifted off as winds calmed Sunday, ferrying water and transporting firefighters to battle a 3-week-old wildfire that has scorched more than 200 square miles of the Los Padres National Forest.

Hot, dry Santa Ana winds appeared to be picking up by late morning but still were somewhat tamer than in recent days, reducing the risk of the blaze spreading and allowing more firefighters to go to work.

Late Saturday, authorities urged the evacuation of about 300 houses and a college east of Ojai. The order was voluntary and came after winds blew embers past the lines of the blaze, igniting two "spot" fires.

The new fires consumed thousands of acres of brush before burning back into the main blaze, which has scorched 127,569 acres - or nearly 200 square miles - since igniting Labor Day. It was 40 percent contained.

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