Winds Driving Calif. Blaze Ease
Oct. 13, 2001
SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (AP) _ Santa Ana winds that propelled a 5,700-acre brush fire eased Saturday, giving firefighters hope they could contain the blaze that prompted hundreds of people to leave their homes.
The fire destroyed portions of a movie set and threatened hundreds of homes on Friday, prompting firefighters to ask residents to evacuate. Winds up to 20 mph propelled the blaze within 50 feet of some of the homes.
By Saturday afternoon the blaze was about 50 percent contained and had moved away from housing tracts but threatened 20 to 30 ranch homes to the northwest, said Pat Boss, U.S. Forest Service fire information officer.
Two firefighters suffered minor injuries fighting the blaze.
Temperatures in the 80s, low humidity and steep terrain continued to hamper firefighters, but wind speeds fell to 5 to 8 mph Saturday.
``If the winds keep subsiding the way they are, it will definitely be in our favor,'' Boss said.
Officials held off on initial plans to send up to 500 firefighters to bolster the 1,000 already working the blaze on the ground and in five air tankers and eight helicopters.
Boss said firefighters were prepared to respond quickly if the hot seasonal winds, blowing toward the coast, kicked up again.
The fire, which destroyed prop sheds and movie sets on the 750-acre Veluzat Motion Picture Ranch, was spotted at about 8:50 a.m. Friday in Bouquet Canyon and moved rapidly through heavy brush, Los Angeles County fire Capt. Brian Jordan said.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Firefighters opened a high school as a temporary shelter, but the shelter was closed late Friday because it was not needed.