Firefighters battle flames, terrain, north of LA
Friday, May 17, 2013
FRAZIER PARK, Calif. (AP) -- Firefighters had to battle terrain as much as flames as they worked to surround a wildfire entering its third day in harsh hills and mountains north of Los Angeles.
Temperatures dipped Thursday and were expected to remain cool on Friday, but winds upwards of 20 mph continued to swirl, and much of the blaze that has blackened some 4,100 acres -- more than six square miles -- was in rocky, rugged, difficult-to-reach places, making containment a challenge.
After a heavy aerial firefighting effort, the blaze was 35 percent contained by early Friday.
The fire broke out near Interstate 5 when temperatures were in the 80s, and though they've dropped to the 60s, winds were still a problem.
"It's definitely gusty, but we're lucky, the winds are blowing away from homes," Kern County Fire Department spokesman Corey Wilford said. "It would be better if we didn't have winds at all though."
Lower temperatures were expected to persist into the weekend.
The fire has spread to three counties, Los Angeles, Kern and Ventura, but burned in mostly unpopulated areas and threatened no homes or buildings.
A Kern County high school was closed as a precaution.
The fire started early Wednesday afternoon and initially burned thick brush, seasonal grasses and sage, but then moved into trees.
The cooler weather helped firefighters overnight clear brush and create breaks in hopes of slowing the blaze. Efforts on Thursday were focused on the southern edge of the fire.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.