Wildfires erupt as California sees hot, dry weather


SAN DIEGO (AP) — Firefighters were making progress battling several fires Wednesday that had burned through more than 13 square miles (32 square kilometers) of dry brush at Southern California’s Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base amid summer-like heat.

The blazes were believed linked to military training exercises, John Crook, deputy chief of the Camp Pendleton Fire Department, said in a video posting on the base’s Twitter account.

None of the fires posed threats to personnel or buildings, nor to the surrounding communities, Crook said.

By Wednesday evening, two of the three largest fires were 20% contained. The military’s firefighters were being assisted by state and local area crews, officials said.

Firefighters have been chasing small blazes statewide during the spell of hot and very dry weather.

At least three fires were reported in Ventura County west of Los Angeles, including one that prompted evacuations near Lake Piru. The 200 -acre (81-hectare) blaze threatened 25 buildings in the remote area. Aircraft dropped retardant on a stubborn blaze that burned 250 acres (101 hectares) of dry brush in rugged terrain near Santa Paula. And crews made quick work of an earlier fire that burned near homes in Thousand Oaks.

In Los Angeles, firefighters and water-dropping helicopters stopped a fire that burned about 50 acres (20 hectares) of brush and grass in Sepulveda Pass along Interstate 405.

The fire erupted around 2 a.m. below the hilltop homes of Bel Air but there were no evacuations and no evacuations, the Fire Department said.

Conditions were warm and dry but there was minimal wind.

Two firefighters were treated for minor injuries.

The fire’s cause was under investigation. It occurred in the same area as a 2017 blaze ignited by a cooking fire in a homeless camp.

The National Weather Service said a heat advisory would remain in effect through Wednesday evening for much of Southern California. Downtown Los Angeles reached a record 98 degrees Fahrenheit (36.6 Celsius) on Tuesday.