Firefighters battle wind-fed California blaze | world | Hindustan Times
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Firefighters battle wind-fed California blaze

Firefighters battled to get a grip on a wind-driven wildfire raging in California that has destroyed more than 70 houses and forced thousands to flee.

world Updated: May 08, 2009 15:47 IST

Firefighters battled to get a grip on a wind-driven wildfire raging in California that has destroyed more than 70 houses and forced thousands to flee.

The inferno in the hills around the upmarket coastal town of Santa Barbara, northwest of Los Angeles, exploded into life on Wednesday as powerful hot gusts and record temperatures created a perfect storm of fire conditions.

Around 15,000 residents of the picturesque city had been evacuated on Saturday as an army of 2,300 firefighters tackled the flames.

As of 1230 IST, the fire was 10 percent contained and had burned through some 2,739 acres, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CALFIRE).

Notorious local gusts known as "sundowners" that had failed to materialize earlier in the day as forecast arrived late yesterday.

Santa Barbara County Fire Chief Tom Franklin stressed that the area was "not out of the woods."
Authorities said the fire destroyed 75 homes and that 3,500 more properties and 100 shops were threatened by the blaze.