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Wind-driven fire in Castaic near 5 Freeway partly contained

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Firefighters battle wind-driven fire in Castaic

Firefighters battled a wind-driven blaze that broke out early Monday in Castaic amid weather conditions that had authorities concerned about the possibility of rapid spread, officials said.

The blaze burned near Tapia Canyon Road, just off the 5 Freeway, which remained open to commuters.

The fire, which started overnight near the Jack Bones Equestrian Center, had scorched about 86 acres by 3 p.m. and was 70% contained, said a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

“There are still crews there, but they’re just mopping up the hot spots,” L.A. County Fire Department Inspector Henry Narvaez said. He said the firefighters would be there for a couple more hours to make sure there were no active embers or smoking shrubs or trees.

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No evacuations were ordered, and no injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known.

A red flag warning signifying critical fire conditions was issued for much of Southern California through Monday night as Santa Ana winds arrived unseasonably early and humidity plummeted.

“The weather conditions combined with the fuels — the grasses and vegetation — are ripe for more extreme fire spread and behavior if one were to start,” Mike Wofford, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard, said Monday.

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Windy areas including the L.A. County mountains were seeing gusts of 50 to 60 mph, and gusts of 40 to 50 mph were recorded earlier Monday morning near Santa Monica, he said.

“This is very unusual to see these kinds of strong northeast winds” in June, Wofford said. “It’s usually a late summer into fall type of situation.”

Temperatures also were forecast to remain above average through much of the week, with a heat advisory issued for coastal areas that will go into effect Tuesday afternoon. High temperatures were forecast to be more than 20 degrees above normal Tuesday, with many areas in the 90s.

Dry and windy conditions also were reported in Northern California, where crews were battling an 1,837-acre brush fire that broke out Saturday evening in Solano County.

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The fire, which was burning in the area of Quail Canyon and Pleasants Valley roads near Winters, was 50% contained as of Monday morning, authorities said. Evacuations that were ordered over the weekend had been lifted.


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