Wildfire keeps raging near Los Angeles

15:17, July 31, 2010      

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Hundreds of firefighters on Friday stepped up efforts to contain a wildfire which has burned 8, 000 acres (3,240 hectares) in suburban Los Angeles, authorities said.

Since its outbreak on Thursday, the Crown Fire has damaged several structures, including three single-wide trailers, a single- family home, two garages, a building, three outbuildings and a hay barn, the Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACFD) said.

High temperatures at 98 degrees Fahrenheit coupled with breezy conditions posed a challenge to the firefighters, the department said.

"We're gonna have the same high temperatures today. We're gonna have low relative humidity, and winds are going to be a challenge, especially this afternoon," said LACFD Deputy Chief Michael Bryant, the incident commander.

About 750 firefighting personnel were assigned to the effort to extinguish the flames, Bryant said.

Bryant said firefighters were working to protect major power lines in the area that serve Southern California.

The cause of the fire was under investigation, but it could have been sparked by workers working on a tire rim to remove that rim, Bryant noted.

"They were using a hammer to try to get the bolts loose, and that's what the investigation is really focusing on right now," he said, adding that there was still no confirmation that the workers started the blaze.

With the Crown Fire threatening power lines in the northern reaches of Los Angeles County, the Department of Water and Power ( DWP) asked residents on Friday to reduce their power usage as much as possible -- as long as it does not compromise their health or safety.

A DWP spokesman said the utility has minimized power imports on a transmission line that passes through the fire-threatened Leona Valley, and is generating power at closer plants to deliver energy to the city.

As of this morning, the DWP Power System was functioning normally and no fire outages were reported, but the utility asked its customers to reduce all unnecessary demand on the power system, at least until the threat from the Crown Fire has passed.

A series of brush fires have been sweeping parts of Southern California in the past few days.

In Kern County, about 70 miles (112 kilometers) north of Los Angeles, two wildfires have been raging for days, destroying an unknown number of homes in remote mountain communities.

But by Friday, firefighters have managed to build containment lines around the two wildfires.

Cool and moist weather gave a helping hand to the firefighters, said Pete Jankowski, a U.S. Forest Service information officer.

Source: Xinhua


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