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Firefighters make progress against Calif. wildfire

August 11, 2013

BANNING, California (AP) — Firefighters continued to make steady progress Sunday in battling Southern California’s latest destructive wildfire, which burned 26 homes and threatened more than 500 others in the San Jacinto Mountains.

Riverside County Fire’s Jeff La Russo said full containment of the more than 30-square-mile (78-square-kilometer) blaze is expected Monday.

The Silver Fire charred roughly 19,430 acres (7,860 hectares) and is 75 percent contained. The fire stopped advancing Saturday as firefighters focused on extinguishing hot spots.

The blaze injured 10 firefighters and seriously burned a mountain biker who was overrun by the fast-moving flames when the fire erupted Wednesday.

Evacuation orders for several communities remain in effect; some campgrounds and trails are also closed.

California Gov. Jerry Brown declared an emergency for the area Friday, freeing up additional funds and resources for the firefight and recovery.

At its peak, the fire forced the evacuation of 1,800 people, including 800 campers. Evacuation orders for several communities remained in effect.

Most of Southern California’s severe wildfires are associated with Santa Ana winds, caused by high pressure over the West that sends a clockwise flow of air rushing down into the region.

This week’s fire, however, was being fanned by a counter-clockwise flow around a low pressure area over northwest California. The National Weather Service said conditions could change in the second half of next week, with weaker winds in the mountains and deserts.

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