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Brush fires erupt; red-flag warning in effect

Fire crews are seen battling a blaze off the 15 Freeway in Fontana on Friday, Oct. 26, 2012.
October 26, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
With a red-flag warning in effect across most of the Southland, firefighters are on high alert, quickly knocking down blazes that erupted in dry brush Friday.

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A brush fire erupted in Fontana that burned 324 acres and required the effort of 200 firefighters. Crews quickly got to work attacking the flames. Hand crews got ahead of the blaze digging trenches while bull dozers cleared heavier brush. The fire did not threaten any homes but nearby residents closely monitored the fire's course.

Despite its close proximity to Kordyak Elementary School, the fire was not a threat since students had been released early. A portion of Sierra Avenue remained shut as of 6 p.m. as authorities investigated the fire. Crews were also expected to monitor the area overnight.

In Santa Clarita, a small brush fire broke out just before 11:30 a.m. at the Robinson Ranch Golf Course. Though the blaze was only about 1/4 acre, with high winds and dry conditions, firefighters were not taking any chances. In Malibu, crews also responded to a one-acre brush fire in the 35100 block of Mulholland Highway.

The public is asked to keep an eye on parking restrictions during the red flag warnings, which are in effect throughout many communities in Los Angeles County. The restrictions are especially important in the canyon communities, where crews will need all the space available to get up curvy roads.

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A high-wind warning was issued for Orange County and the Inland Empire, as well as the mountain areas of Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Orange County and the Inland Empire are expected to see the strongest gusts. The strong winds knocked down trees in Reseda and Northridge on Thursday.

The Santa Ana winds, coupled with low humidity, have local firefighters on high alert. Fire stations are fully staffed throughout the area, and officials say they will aggressively go after any potential fire.

"An event like this, with high temperatures and heavy winds, has a huge impact on the Los Angeles Fire Department. We have to have resources, not only in the event of a major brush fire or a fire that breaks out, being able to attack it quickly, but we have to handle all the call load with fallen trees, fallen power lines," said Capt. Jaime Moore of the Los Angeles City Fire Department.

The red-flag warning was expected to be in effect until 8 a.m. Saturday. Parking restrictions were also in place for some hillside neighborhoods so that fire trucks can easily get through narrow roads.

It is the six-year anniversary of the deadly Esperanza Fire that killed five U.S. Forest Service firefighters. It was a wind-driven arson wildfire.

Fire officials urged to public to refrain from activities that could potentially spark a fire this weekend.


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