Winds push S. California wildfire away from homes

Wednesday, October 22nd 2008, 10:33 am
By: News 9

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (AP) -- A 250-acre wildfire burned through brushy foothills in San Bernardino County on Wednesday but hot, gusty winds pushed it away from homes, authorities said.

The fire started close to Fontana east of Los Angeles and winds in excess of 30 mph pushed it west into the mountains and canyons of Rancho Cucamonga, county fire spokeswoman Angie Samayoa said.

People in about 100 homes near a Buddhist temple were told they may want to evacuate but are not being ordered to do so, Assistant Fire Marshall Mike Horton told KABC-TV.

"Homes are not directly in the line of fire," Samayoa said.

About 350 firefighters were on the scene and aircraft dropped water on the flames, Samayoa said.

"It sounds like they're holding it ... it doesn't seem to be progressing so far," she said.

There were no reports of any smoke or fire near freeways and no word of any injuries, officials said.

The fire broke out five years to the day after the beginning of the Grand Prix wildfire, which burned 59,000 acres and destroyed 135 homes in the same area, officials said.

Southern California was experiencing strong Santa Ana winds a week after similar conditions spurred several major wildfires.

Temperatures were expected to reach the 90s in many areas.

In a remote area of southern New Jersey, a forest fire that broke out Tuesday continued to burn pinelands Wednesday, fueled by strong gusts of wind that fanned flames. The blaze had engulfed 1,200 acres by Wednesday morning, said Maris Gabliks, head of the New Jersey Forest Fire Service.

He said about four homes were in potential danger but not imminently threatened. Two others were evacuated when they lost electricity due to the fire.

A section of heavily traveled Route 206 remained closed because of heavy smoke in the area.

Firefighters had the blaze about 30 percent contained by Wednesday morning.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)