Wildfire rages in California

2013-05-03 07:57
A helicopter makes a water drop on a hotspot over a hill near Thousand Oaks, California. (Nick Ut, AP)

A helicopter makes a water drop on a hotspot over a hill near Thousand Oaks, California. (Nick Ut, AP)

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Los Angeles - A wildfire fanned by gusty winds raged along the fringes of southern California communities on Thursday, forcing the evacuation of homes and a university while setting recreational vehicles ablaze.

The blaze erupted during morning rush hour along a major highway about 80km northwest of Los Angeles. It was quickly spread by the winds, which also pushed other damaging fires across the region.

Flames quickly moved down slopes toward subdivisions, according to the Ventura County Fire Department. More than 32km² were charred and the fire was about 10% contained.

"We know the fire is bigger than that, but it's in some difficult terrain so it's hard to know," said fire spokesperson Bill Nash.

A cluster of recreational vehicles in a parking lot was destroyed as flames moved close to a mobile home park.

About 2 000 homes were threatened by flames and 15 sustained damage, but none was destroyed, officials said.

No firefighter injuries were reported.

Fire officials said on Thursday afternoon that a hazardous materials team will deal with a store of highly toxic pesticides that caught fire at a Laguna Farms property, according the Ventura County Star.

Area residents were warned to stay out of the smoke as much as possible.

- AP
Read more on:    us  |  fires
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