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Ocean breezes aid California firefighters

Tue., Sept. 26, 2006

OJAI, Calif. – Cooler weather helped firefighters who were slowly encircling one of the largest, longest-burning wildfires in recent state history on Monday as dying Santa Ana winds were replaced by cooler ocean breezes.

The hot winds from the northeast were down from 40 mph to 10 mph and were colliding with an onshore flow coming up from the south.

Flames that had grown more active over the weekend were “pretty much lazy,” said Larry Comerford of the U.S. Forest Service. “We’re slowly gaining the upper hand.”

The fire in Los Padres National Forest had burned about 134,000 acres, or nearly 210 square miles, since Labor Day. It was 41 percent contained.

The fire has crept toward the town of Ojai, an artists’ enclave popular with tourists, but by Monday a call for voluntary evacuations was ended.


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