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Firefighters Hopeful Weather Will Help Quell California Wildfire

By: CBS/Associated Press
By: CBS/Associated Press

A wildfire tearing through a coastal region in Southern California nearly tripled in size as high temperatures fueled the flames, but a fire official said early Saturday that a favorable shift in the weather will likely help crews make progress against the flames.

The fire 50 miles northwest of Los Angeles mushroomed to 43 square miles Friday as 900 firefighters used engines, aircraft, bulldozers and other equipment to battle the flames.

Two C-130 air tankers from the California Air National Guard are prepared to join the fight along with a DC-10 air tanker that can drop 12,000 gallons of water in a single pass, Evans reports.

Forecasters said a weekend of increased humidity should help teams fighting the early-season blaze.

Capt. Mike Lindbery of the Ventura County Fire Department said early Saturday that crews intended to take advantage of lower temps and higher humidity.

The type of blaze that hit the area usually doesn't strike Southern California wild-land until September or October, after the summer has dried out hillside vegetation. But the state has seen a severe drought during the past year, with the water content of California's snowpack only 17 percent of normal.

That created late-summer conditions by May, and when hot Santa Ana winds and high temperatures arrived this week, the spring flames that firefighters routinely knock down once or twice a year quickly roared up a hillside — out of control.

On Friday, the wildfire stormed back through canyons toward inland neighborhoods when winds reversed direction.


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