October 14, 2008

Winds Cooperating With SoCal Fire Crews

Los Angeles firefighters were holding their own Tuesday afternoon as two stubborn wildfires threatened suburban neighborhoods.

Santa Ana winds remained relatively light for much of the day, giving crews in the San Fernando Valley a welcome advantage as they battled fires that had burned a combined 14,000 acres and nearly 59 structures.

"This thing is not over," Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Paul Hartwell told the Los Angeles Times. "This is halftime. Don't get comfortable."

The National Weather Service said a red-flag warning remained in effect until Wednesday night for Los Angeles and Ventura Counties where wind gusts in some canyon areas could potentially hit 50 mph.

For much of Tuesday, the winds were on the light side as firefighter carved out containment lines and guarded threatened homes against approaching flames.

The Mareck fire was considered 70 percent contained at nearly 5,000 acres; however, the Senson fire near Porter Ranch ballooned to nearly 10,000 acres and was still a threat to several neighborhoods in Granada Hills.

To the south of Los Angeles, another fire on the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base closed Interstate 5 for more than an hour, cutting the coastal route between Orange and San Diego Counties.