California wildfire ‘contained by Tuesday’

California wildfire ‘contained by Tuesday’

06 May 2013

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USA — Rainy weather should help contain by late Tuesday a southern California wildfire that has burned 44 sq miles (70 sq km), fire officials have said.

The blaze, north-west of Los Angeles, was 80% contained as of Monday morning.

The wet weather is helping firefighters to tame the blaze, but also slowing work as crews struggle through muddy and slippery conditions.

The fire has damaged just 15 properties but at its peak threatened about 4,000 homes in the densely populated area.

Eight firefighters suffered minor injuries.

Officials have ruled out arson as the root cause.

Tom Piranio, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said they believe the blaze was started by a small “undetermined roadside ignition of grass and debris” on the edge of a highway near Thousand Oaks, California.

“The topography plus the hot, windy weather created a perfect storm for the fire to spread fast,” Mr Piranio said.

The blaze first broke out on Thursday, quickly sweeping through the Camarillo Springs area.

It forced the closure of a section of the Pacific Coast Highway and threatened a naval facility.

Fire crews have tackled more than 680 wildfires in California so far this year, some 200 more than average for the period.

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