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California fire danger remains high even as winds ease

California Fires

Fire danger remained high Friday amid unpredictable wind gusts and dry conditions in Southern California, as crews made progress against blazes that burned several homes and injured two firefighters.

The region’s notorious Santa Ana winds decreased slightly but red flag warnings of extreme wildfire risk were in place into the weekend because of low humidity. After the weather calms in the southern part of the state, winds are expected to increase in Northern California starting Sunday, forecasters said.

Firefighters were still busy trying to contain a number of blazes south and east of Los Angeles. The biggest began late Wednesday as a house fire in Orange County’s Silverado Canyon that spread to dry brush by fierce winds. Some 25,000 people were ordered to flee their homes, although some evacuations orders were later lifted.

The fire grew to 10 square miles (26 square kilometers) and blanketed a wide area with smoke and ash. It was 10% contained as calmer conditions helped hundreds of firefighters who fought the flames on the ground and by air.

Two U.S. Forest Service firefighters were hospitalized after being hurt while battling the blaze, though it wasn’t known how the injuries occurred. One was treated for a leg injury and the other suffered bruising and both were released Wednesday night, the Forest Service said on Twitter.

Some residents said they didn’t receive evacuation alerts because Southern California Edison had shut off power as a precaution before the fire erupted, leaving them without cellphone service.

The fire was not far from the site of October’s Silverado Fire, which also forced thousands from their homes and left two firefighters critically burned.

This article was originally published by Christopher Weber, www.washingtontimes.com.

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