Encouraged by cooler temperatures and higher humidity, fire officials said they expect full containment of the Springs fire in Ventura County by Monday.
By late Saturday afternoon, weather conditions had improved so dramatically that fire officials said they had begun the process of releasing some municipal fire engines. But officials cautioned that although there is a 50% chance of rain Sunday, the weather could change at any time.
Nearly 2,000 firefighters from across California and neighboring states have battled the more than 28,000-acre wild fire since it began Thursday. The fire is 30% contained.
The cooling weather and rising humidity levels caused the weather service Friday night to cancel red flag fire warnings in the area.
The cooler, damper air is part of a marine layer that meteorologists said would affect much of Southern California over the next several days. The chance of rain will rise to about 50% Sunday and Monday.
Temperatures in the Springs fire area will continue cooling, reaching the low to mid-60s as the week begins.
Although the wetter air helps suppress the blaze, one firefighter noted a Catch-22: The humidity actually hampers efforts to steer the fire with controlled burns of flammable vegetation.
“There’s too much humidity right now; we’re going to try to get this going again,” said Ventura County Fire Capt. Scott Dettorre, noting the trouble firefighters were having Saturday morning as they tried to stoke a controlled burn on a hillside in the Thousand Oaks area. “Otherwise, you get an incomplete burn.”
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