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Raging wildfire in southern California grows to 500 acres


A raging wildfire in southern California has grown to cover more than 500 acres, with firefighters battling to gain control of the blaze in the Cleveland National Forest northeast of San Diego.

The fire began on Wednesday southeast of Los Angeles. It was first reported to be covering 10 acres at 11.20am but had grown to encompass more than 400 acres within three hours.

According to Cleveland National Forest public affairs officer Nathan Judy, firefighters were able to stem the spread by laying down containment lines and using aircraft and helicopters to drop fire retardant and water, which slowed the fire’s speed towards the early evening.

But as of 7pm, the fire had reached more than 500 acres and wasn’t contained, the LA Times reported. Almost 100 people were fighting the fire, located in a steep area.

“The fire has really laid down and the forward rate of spread has stopped,” Mr Judy told the paper on Wednesday night. “We’ll have crews working throughout the night monitoring and constructing containment line.”

The fire started at the bottom of a drainage area in a canyon and then started to move uphill. Mr Judy said the cause of the fire was still under investigation. The spread of the fire was slowed as it hit the Holy Fire burn scar.

The Holy Jim hiking area had been closed in order to be rehabilitated following the 2018 Holy Fire that scorched more than 20,000 acres.

Mr Judy said that no structures had been threatened by the fire so far, but that some communication towers were in its path.

“It would take a wind shift to put it into populated areas,” he told the LA Times.

Firefighters didn’t have to battle much wind and cooler weather on Thursday as well as possible winds on Friday could also aid them in their efforts.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District told the paper that air quality had not been affected in the area.

“We do see that the smoke plume is staying in the upper atmosphere and not reaching the surface,” communications director Nahal Mogharabi said. “We are not currently seeing smoke impacts in our network.”

“We continue to keep an eye on the fire as well as weather patterns and will provide information as necessary,” he added.

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