News Column

California Wildfire 35 Percent Contained

May 2, 2013

Firefighters have contained 35 percent of a Southern California wildfire as officials said the number of blazes in the state could be higher this year.

The so-called Summit fire had consumed more than 2,950 acres by Thursday morning when it appeared to begin slowing, state agency Cal Fire said.

At least 425 firefighters were working to contain the blaze, the Riverside County Fire Department said. About 500 people in Banning, Calif., were evacuated Wednesday. At least one home was destroyed by the blaze, CNN reported.

Officials are hoping to contain the blaze before higher winds and temperatures later in the week create ideal conditions for fires to spread, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"The winds are a major problem here," Riverside County Fire Chief John Hawkins said.

Temperatures were in the low 80s and the relative humidity was at 12 percent, the Times said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the potential for wildfires in California should only increase as the season progresses, Cal Fire Battalion Chief Julie Hutchinson said.

Southern California has only seen a couple inches of rain since the start of the year, making it as dry as it would normally be in the fall during peak wildfire season, the Times said.

"It could be a very long, hot summer with a lot of potential for fires if they get started and if we continue to have the hot dry weather," Hutchinson said. "It's only going to get hotter and drier as we go through the summer."

Source: Copyright UPI 2013

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