October 14, 2008

Crews Fight Wildfires As Winds Calm Down

Firefighters at the northern edge of California's San Fernando Valley got a break Tuesday as Santa Ana winds eased up after fueling deadly twin wildfires.

Firefighters continued to battle blazes that so far have claimed two lives -- in addition to two other deaths reported elsewhere -- 10,000 acres and 49 structures, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Meanwhile, fire officials reported the 4,824-acre Marek fire near Lake View Terrace was 70 percent contained Tuesday. The 9,872-acre Sesnon fire in Porter Ranch still burned in a southwesterly direction, threatening homes in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

"Once again, we are facing the perfect storm of high winds, low humidity and high heat," California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said during a news conference.

Statewide, from the U.S.-Mexico border to Los Angeles, wildfires in recent days consumed 26,000 acres and 64 structures, Schwarzenegger said.

Firefighters at the Marek blaze said their job Tuesday was to build a line around the fire's perimeter to create "defensible space," the Times reported. Crews battling the Sesnon fire concentrated on areas in and around the Santa Susana Mountains bordering Ventura and Los Angeles counties.