Cooler temperatures help to tame southern California wildfire

Sun May 5, 2013 2:47pm EDT

1 of 2. A firefighter pulls a hose line as a backfire is ignited into the Santa Monica Mountains off Potrero Road in order to control the Springs Fire near Newbury Park, California, May 4, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Patrick T. Fallon

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(Reuters) - Cooler temperatures helped firefighters battling a wildfire in southern California on Sunday and an official said the blaze was expected to be fully under control within 24 hours.

The so-called Springs Fire has charred about 28,000 acres of brush land in a coastal area northwest of Los Angeles since it started on Thursday.

The favorable weather on Sunday helped firefighters as they put containment lines around the fire, which they estimate will be completely contained sometime on Monday.

"We're really not seeing a lot of fire activity out there right now," said Captain Dan Horgon of the Ventura County Fire Department.

"There are occasional flare-ups here and there, but with the weather, everything has really died down compared to a few days ago," he said.

By Sunday, the fire was 60 percent contained, Horgon said.

The Springs Fire, and a flurry of smaller blazes around the state last week, marked a sudden start to the California fire season. Some weather forecasters have predicted the season will be worsened by a summer of higher temperatures and drought throughout much of the U.S. West.

About 4,000 homes had been threatened by the fire but only 15 homes were reported to have been damaged, Horgon said. Seven people suffered minor injuries, including six firefighters, he said.

On Saturday, officials lifted evacuation orders and road closures in areas close to the fire.

Some 2,000 personnel have been battling the blaze, Horgon said.

(Reporting by Kevin Gray; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Sandra Maler)

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