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California wildfires: Homes still threatened but none destroyed

May 04, 2013|By Christine Mai-Duc

Although a 30,000-acre wildfire in Ventura County continues to threaten thousands of homes, only 15 residences have been damaged and none have been destroyed, officials said Saturday.

Evacuations remain in effect for several areas in Sycamore and La Jolla canyons, Broom Ranch and Hidden Valley, officials said. Thick white smoke clouds the entire region as firefighters and ground crews continue to battle the blaze.                               

Aided by cooler temperatures and rising humidity levels, firefighters managed to make significant progress on the wildfire, which erupted on Thursday and is now 30% contained. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.                                   

The National Weather Service lifted its red-flag warnings Friday evening, saying that weather conditions were no longer ripe for wildfires. Cooler temperatures are expected throughout the weekend, and humidity also should rise.

Inland areas should experience a 15- to 20-degree drop from Friday’s highs going into the weekend, said Bonnie Bartling of the weather service. Temperatures in coastal areas are expected to top out at 70 degrees with a marine layer crawling over Los Angeles County.

A more dramatic cooling should take place Sunday with temperatures dropping to the mid-60s with possible showers helping firefighters out.

Elsewhere in the region, firefighters quickly knocked down brush fires that threatened homes in Glendale and the San Gabriel Valley suburb of Walnut.

Glendale officials credited the clearing of flammable brush and a decisive air attack as being crucial in gaining the upper hand on that 75-acre blaze, which scorched the Chevy Chase Canyon area north of the 134 Freeway.

"We hit it quickly," Glendale spokesman Tom Lorenz said. The city's firefighters, Lorenz said, had been preparing and planning for brush fires due to the recent high winds.

Los Angeles County firefighters took an hour to knock down a five-acre fire that threatened homes in the 600 block of North Silver Valley Trail in Walnut, a suburb of 30,000 near Diamond Bar. Fire Inspector Quvondo Johnson said about 200 firefighters attacked the blaze on the ground and by air.

"We didn't play," he said.

In the Springs fire, about 4,000 homes and 300 commercial properties have been threatened, according to a recent tally from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, with five commercial properties damaged and another 25 outbuildings destroyed.  

ALSO:

Los Angeles regional weather forecast

Wildfires slow commutes in north L.A. County 

California wildfires: Cooler weather, rain helps fire fight

christine.maiduc@latimes.com

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