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Firefighter Crew Stays on Watch After Containing Agua Dulce Fire : Safety: A contingent will remain in Santa Clarita to guard against another flare-up because hot, dry winds are expected to continue throughout the week.

October 10, 1994|CHIP JOHNSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

AGUA DULCE — About 90 firefighters remained in Agua Dulce on Sunday to snuff out a brush fire that scorched more than 1,000 acres and threatened a mobile home park and other structures in this small community between the Antelope and Santa Clarita valleys, authorities said.

Four camp crews, a water tender and five engine companies remained at the scene and patrolled the edges of the fire area until about noon, said Lawrence Beals, a dispatch supervisor for the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Beals said a contingent of five engine companies will remain in Santa Clarita to guard against another flare-up because hot, dry winds are predicted to continue throughout the week.

A downed power line is suspected of sparking the blaze, which broke out about 10 a.m. Saturday near Agua Dulce Canyon Road south of the Antelope Valley Freeway, authorities said. It quickly spread west toward Santa Clarita, pushed by 20 m.p.h. Santa Ana winds, fire officials said.

Thick clouds of smoke forced the closure of the freeway for about five hours Saturday, California Highway Patrol Officer Kerri Hawkins said.

Cleanup operations began about 8 p.m. Saturday, after firefighters, aided by firefighting aircraft, contained about 80% of the fire, Beals said.

As fire season gets under way, the County Fire Department is expected to begin using the CL-215T "Super Scooper" aircraft by the end of this week, Beals said. The aircraft, which is leased from the Canadian government, can scoop up to 14,000 gallons of water as it skims the surface of large bodies of water, according to fire officials.

Weather forecasters predicted more Santa Ana conditions Monday, combined with near-record high temperatures, said Kris Farnsworth, a meteorologist with WeatherData Inc., a weather service used by The Times.

The National Weather Service office in Oxnard reported high temperatures of 95 degrees in Van Nuys shortly after 1:30 p.m., said meteorologist Robert Krohn.

On Monday, temperatures in the San Fernando Valley are expected to range in the mid-90s with a high of 92 in Burbank and a high of 90 degrees in Woodland Hills in the west San Fernando Valley, Farnsworth said.

The high, dry winds are expected to taper off by Tuesday, resulting in a 10-degree temperature drop in most Valley communities, Farnsworth said. On-shore ocean winds between 5 and 15 m.p.h. are expected to bring patchy fog and clouds to inland Valley areas by Friday, Farnsworth said.

Santa Ana winds are caused by high-pressure systems that develop over Nevada and Utah before they appear in Southern California as hot, dry northeastern winds that blow out of northern mountain areas, Farnsworth said.

"The air is compressed as it moves down these slopes and heats up," Farnsworth explained.

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