Arson cause of California wildfire: authorities

LOS ANGELES Mon Mar 12, 2007 2:13pm EDT

1 of 6. A firefighter works at the scene of a 1,000-acre brush fire in Anaheim Hills, California, March 11, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Gene Blevins

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A fast-moving wildfire that blackened 2,000 acres and forced the evacuation of more than 1,200 southern California residents was arson, authorities said on Monday.

"This is an arson fire," Capt. Steve Miller of the Orange County Fire Authority told a news conference. He said the blaze began when a stolen vehicle was set on fire, igniting nearby brush.

Two buildings were destroyed and two homes were damaged in the fire, which threatened an upscale Anaheim Hills neighborhood in Orange County, about 35 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

Miller said the fire was 80 percent contained as of Monday, and should be fully contained by Tuesday morning.

Southern California was under an extremely high-risk fire warning over the weekend and Monday as hot winds drove temperatures up to around 90 (32 C) degrees inland after one of the driest winters on record.

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