News World Wildfire takes hold in Southern California

Wildfire takes hold in Southern California

southern california fires 2015
Reuters, Gene Blevins
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Firefighters have gained the upper hand on a wildfire northwest of Los Angeles that burned about 500 hectares of land, forced the closure of parts of a major highway and led to evacuations.

Hundreds of firefighters battled the blaze in the Solimar Beach area of Ventura County and were able to draw containment lines around 60 per cent of the conflagration by Saturday evening, county fire officials said.

The flames triggered the closure of parts of US Highway 101, though both northbound and southbound lanes of the major roadway had reopened to traffic by late afternoon, officials said.

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Two firefighters suffered minor injuries, they said, and there were no reports of damage to structures.

Officials have said it could take at least three days to get the fire fully under control. The cause of the fire was still under investigation.

“Even if we do open up the roadways, it’s still not a contained fire,” Ventura County Fire Department Chief Norm Plott told reporters earlier in the day. “It’s a very dynamic fire. We’re not quite out of the woods yet.”

The fire started at around 11pm local time on Friday near Ventura, which is about 105km northwest of Los Angeles, and strong winds as high as 65km/h and dry vegetation caused it to grow rapidly, fire officials said.

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