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Crews gain upper hand against Lompoc, L.A.-area fires

September 30, 2009 |  8:26 pm


Fire crews gained the upper hand tonight in battles against brush fires in Santa Barbara County and Los Angeles, authorities said.

A Lompoc-area blaze has charred 300 acres near Vandenberg Air Force Base. By evening, firefighters had the fire 50% contained, said Capt. David Sadecki of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

Ground crews, aided by 10 air tankers and five water-dropping helicopters, were able to stop the advance of the fire in Pine Canyon. "We held the line," Sadecki said.

A red-flag warning was issued tonight for mountain areas, such as the Angeles National Forest, which are expected to experience dry winds and low humidity.

Earlier in the day, winds were gusting up to 50 mph but had dropped to about 20 mph by nightfall.

In Griffith Park, meanwhile, 60 firefighters took about an hour to extinguish a 5-acre blaze that was reported at 3:24 p.m, authorities said.

Ground crews, aided by five water-dropping helicopters, attacked the fire as it burned south of Travel Town and the Los Angeles Zoo.

Fire crews were mopping up the blaze tonight and will monitor the scene overnight because of the expected winds, authorities said.

"They want to be ready for that," said Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Greg Acevedo.

—Robert J. Lopez

Photo: Fire burns behind the main entrance to Vandenburg Air Force Base.

Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times