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Firefighters corral brush fire in Southern California

VENTURA, Calif. – Smoke-free skies returned to Ventura Saturday as lighter winds helped hundreds of firefighters corral a brush fire that scorched about 3,700 acres in the hills and canyons north of the city.

On Friday, wind-whipped flames pushed close to homes, prompting some evacuations. But cooler temperatures overnight helped crews get a handle on the School Canyon fire, which by Saturday was moving away from town.

By Saturday night, the fire was 30 percent contained. About 1,100 firefighters and other personnel from across the state helped fight the fire. The cause is under investigation.

No homes were damaged or destroyed. But the fire did burn power poles along California 33, and some 150 oil wells operated by Aera Energy will be temporarily shut down.

At an Aera Energy facility along School Canyon Road east of Ventura Avenue, two five-person teams of U.S. Forest Service workers used picks, shovels and hoses to ensure the hillside full of ash didn’t contain any smoldering embers.

Final containment of the fire may be hampered by a return of gusty winds this morning, when temperatures are expected to reach the upper 70s to low 80s, according to the National Weather Service.


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