Winds return fire danger to Southern California - East Valley Tribune: Nation / World

Winds return fire danger to Southern California

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Posted: Wednesday, October 22, 2008 5:30 pm | Updated: 9:49 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. - Hot, dry Santa Ana winds — and a high risk of wildfires — returned to Southern California on Wednesday, but firefighters quickly jumped on the small brush blazes that erupted.

A 250-acre fire in foothills 60 miles east of Los Angeles gave an early morning scare to residents, but 30 mph winds pushed the flames away from homes and into mountains and canyons of Rancho Cucamonga.

Flames were out by midafternoon but the fire was technically only 60 percent contained because crews had not completely dug a line around it, San Bernardino County fire spokeswoman Tracey Martinez said.

Firefighters watched for signs of rekindling. "We can't let our guards down with the wind blowing like it is," Martinez said.

An evacuation advisory for about 100 homes was canceled by midday as little remained of the fire. Martinez said fireworks were the cause but authorities don't know if it was deliberate or accidental. There were no arrests.

Warnings for high fire danger due to wind and low humidity were posted for a swath of Southern California. Temperatures soared into the 90s even along the shoreline, and the National Weather Service said winds gusted to 50 mph in places.

The Rancho Cucamonga fire broke out almost exactly five years after a wildfire destroyed 135 homes in the same area.

Last week, Santa Ana winds fanned several wildfires in Southern California including two large blazes that burned more than 50 residences around Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley.

In a remote area of southern New Jersey, a forest fire fueled by strong winds was burning pinelands. The blaze had engulfed 1,800 acres and was 40 percent contained Wednesday.

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