Firefighters in the foothills east of Los Angeles have halted the growth of the wildfire that had grown to over 1,000 acres and had begun to surround it, according to an article by The Associated Press.
The powerful Santa Ana winds have caused difficulty in stopping the growth of the fire and containing it. Wednesday’s winds were estimated at 60 to 80 mph, while Thursday’s winds were expected to be lower at 30 to 50 mph.
Winds have grounded helicopters and planes in the attempts to halt the fire and one gust on Wednesday reached 101 mph. According to the Los Angeles Times report, two air tankers and three helicopters were on standby Thursday morning as they waited for winds to subside.
“It’s not just the air and how it is over the fire, it’s also the air of where they’re taking off,” said Brian Grant of the U.S. Forest Service to the Los Angeles Times. “They have to get into that steep terrain and narrow canyons and the wind changes so rapidly…it’s not safe for the aircraft.”
Several schools were closed the second straight day but residents of more than 1,600 homes were told they could return, so long as they were prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice like they were forced to on Wednesday.
About 700 firefighters with 55 fire engines and four bulldozers were building containment lines along the fire’s west edge, which is the side nearest to homes.
The fire started Wednesday morning in the San Bernardino National Forest. The National Weather Service issued a red-flag warning of extremely dangerous fire conditions for Los Angeles, Ventura, and Orange counties until 8 p.m. on Thursday.
The fire has started in the midst of a heat wave that has sent certain areas in Southern California into the 90s.
“The bad news is, we’re going to have some tough, hot, dry, windy conditions to fight that fire, and in case any other fire gets started, it’s going to spread quickly,” said Miguel Miller, a forecaster with the National Weather Service, to the Los Angeles Times Thursday morning. “The good news is, conditions will improve this afternoon.”
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