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New California Wildfires Chase Residents

Mon., Oct. 28, 1996

Two new wildfires erupted Sunday in southern California, chasing people from their homes in the latest in a series of blazes that have destroyed more than 100 houses. The new fires crackled through brush in San Bernardino and Riverside counties about 60 miles east of Los Angeles.

Elsewhere in Southern California, firefighters kept watch for flareups in previously burned areas as wind gusted up to 35 mph through the region. Nearly 40,000 acres of land was covered with ash by the week-old series of wind-driven fires.

An evacuation order was issued early Sunday for neighborhoods closest to a 600-acre fire just north of the city of San Bernardino. An undetermined number of people left their homes, said Lenore Will, a U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman.

However, the wind died down when the flames got to within about a quarter of a mile from the houses, then shifted away from the neighborhoods. Fire officials believed the blaze was started by a campfire.

A fire near Rubidoux in Riverside County burned about 175 acres of low scrub and grass just north of Interstate 60. The freeway remained open. A car fire was blamed for starting the Rubidoux fire.

In Northern California, a fire remained out of control in the scenic Big Sur region. The 4,400-acre blaze in Los Padres National Forest was only 35 percent contained.

In Malibu, about 30 miles to the south, firefighters had a 13,010-acre fire 95 percent contained.

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