July 7, 2008

Success Reported Against Calif. Wildfires

California firefighters said they were hopeful Monday that the two biggest wildfires in the state were coming under control and wouldn't threaten more homes.

The biggest concern was north of Santa Barbara, Calif., where the Gap fire was being fought by a crew of 1,100 personnel and had been coming perilously close to 4,000 homes. It had consumed 9,920 acres and was deemed 30 percent contained as of Sunday night, with the part closest to the homes secured, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The huge Basin Complex fire further north in the Big Sur, Calif., area, which has burned nearly 75,000 acres since June 21, was 11 percent contained Sunday, officials said, marking a turning point in efforts to fight it.

Basin Fire incident commander Mike Dietrich said that Sunday was a great day for firefighters there, The Monterey County (Calif.) Herald reported, as crews completed the final half-mile of a protective fire line from Bixby Mountain to the coastal highway.

Despite the progress, fire officials were concerned about a heat wave that's expected to push California temperatures into triple digits with single-digit humidity levels. Nearly 600,000 acres have burned in California since late June.