The Latest: Some allowed to return home amid California fire
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on California wildfires (all times local):
Authorities have lifted evacuation orders for a farm community as firefighters make progress on a large wildfire in Southern California.
Ventura County officials allowed residents of Somis to return home Saturday morning after firefighters contained 20% of the Maria Fire, which has burned nearly 15 square miles (39 sq. kilometers) and continues to threaten more than 2,500 homes and other buildings.
The fire began Thursday during what had been expected to be the tail end of Santa Ana winds that fanned destructively across Southern California.
While the cause of the fire hasn’t been determined, Southern California Edison reported Friday that it had re-energized a high-voltage power line minutes before a nearby hilltop exploded into a blaze.
Edison had earlier turned off the line due to heavy winds.
Crews fought a pitched battle against the last remaining large wildfire in Southern California as the stubborn flames threatened nearly 2,000 homes and other buildings.
The fire that erupted on a hilltop northwest of Los Angeles headed for what would be its third day Saturday and firefighters were finding it hard work as shifting winds made the front line a moving target.
The Maria Fire had burned some 15 square miles (38 square kilometers) and prompted evacuation orders for nearly 11,000 people since it began Thursday evening.
Eastern Ventura, Camarillo, Somis and Santa Paula were at risk, Ventura County fire officials said.
On Friday, a tug of war developed between onshore and offshore winds.
Winds and skin-cracking low humidity were expected to make Saturday another difficult day for firefighters.