Santa Ana Winds Fuel New Wildfires in Southern California

MENTONE, Calif., Sept. 24 (UPI) — Firefighters in California worked Thursday to contain a brush fire that has consumed more than 200 acres and could threaten houses in Mentone, officials said.

The blaze broke out Wednesday and was zero percent contained Wednesday night, KTLA-TV, Los Angeles, reported.

“We do have a potential threat to structures in the community of Mentone, but it is not immediately,” Cal Fire spokesman Bill Peters said.

The Guiberson Fire, which has burned 16,100 acres in Ventura County, still poses a threat to the northwestern area of Moorpark, the Los Angeles Times reported. The blaze is about 40 percent contained and fire officials said they expected full containment by Saturday.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared a state of emergency in Ventura County, where firefighting costs already topped $1 million, officials said.

All mandatory evacuation orders in the area were lifted.

The 15,000-student Moorpark College was closed Wednesday because of its proximity to the fire.

Fire officials said they believe the fire, burning about 50 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, was ignited Tuesday by spontaneous combustion of manure at a local ranch and spread quickly because of the region’s strong Santa Ana winds.

Four minor injuries to firefighters have been reported, the Times said.

At least four other brushfires broke out Tuesday.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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