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Wind, dry weather cause IE fires, road closures

January 8, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
From fires to powerful gusts, the dry and windy weather conditions caused many problems for the Inland Empire Sunday.

A wildfire broke out at about 1:30 p.m. near Topaz Avenue and Farmington Street in Hesperia. It burned 20 acres before crews were able to stop the flames from spreading to nearby homes.

Several truckers also fell victim to the dangerous winds, as the gusts toppled over their empty trailers near the 10 and 15 Freeway interchange. The California Highway Patrol shut down the interchange for sometime Sunday morning because of the danger. It was later reopened.

Truckers caught in the wild weather say it was a frightening ride.

"It was pretty shaky last night, and very scary," said truck driver Willy Jarquin. "I saw one of my friends get flipped over off the side of the 15 Freeway. We got really scared, we couldn't even really drive."

Many fire departments brought in extra crews because of the increased risk of wildfires. While conditions seemed to have calmed down Sunday evening, the danger still remains with the dry and windy conditions.

The red-flag warning was in effect through 6 p.m. Sunday for the Orange County coast, mountains and valleys. A wind advisory was also scheduled through 10 p.m. for L.A. and Ventura county mountains.

In the meantime, the public will soon be able to voice its frustrations over prolonged outages caused by November's windstorm.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the California Public Utilities Commission has scheduled a public hearing in Temple City Jan. 26 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Southern California Edison could face fines and penalties if the commission determines the company violated safety rules.