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Firefighters make progress with three Southern California brush fires

October 22, 1998
Web posted at: 3:07 a.m. EDT (0307 GMT)

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Firefighters are working around the clock battling three wildfires in Southern California.

The Waterman Canyon fire burning in the hills above the city of San Bernardino has consumed 278 acres of brushland. The fire began Tuesday afternoon. Fire officials have determined it was deliberately set.

The fire is currently 60 percent contained and officials expect full containment by Thursday night. Full control is expected by Saturday evening. Cool evening temperatures and calm winds have helped firefighters get an upper hand on the blaze, according to Karen McKinley of the San Bernardino Forestry Department.

Although there are many homes in the area, no residences are threatened. The fire is being fought from the ground as well as the air, by over 400 firefighters.

There have been two minor injuries to firefighters, both of which were hand injuries.

Evacuees return

Firefighters continue to make slow but steady progress fighting two other wildfires that have been burning since Sunday north of Los Angeles.

The fire burning in Ventura County, near Lake Piru, has consumed 10,059 acres in five days and is now 79 percent contained. Full containment by Friday evening. There are nearly 1,500 firefighters fighting the blaze from the air and the ground.

The Lake Piru fire had earlier caused the evacuation of a condominum complex and several school closures. All evacuees have returned to their homes and the schools have re-opened.

Lake Piru is located in a remote area approximately 20 miles north of Los Angeles.

Favorable weather conditions expected

Another fire burning in the Los Padres National Forest near Santa Barbara has burned 4,000 acres since Sunday and is now 60 percent contained. Full containment is expected sometime Saturday.

Maeton Freel of the Los Padres National Forest said that the favorable weather conditions are expected Thursday and will help firefighters get an upper hand on the blaze.

No structures have been damaged and no residential structures are threatened. Four firefighters have been injured, two with minor hand injuries, one with a strained back, and another sustained a minor leg injury. Juanita Freel of the National Forest Service, said firefighters believe the blaze started when a farm tractor hit a small rock causing a spark.

The fire burning north of Santa Barbara is in an area that has not burned in the last 75 to 100 years.

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