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Series of Southern California brush fires prompt warnings

May 6, 2011 |  7:18 am

A series of small brush fires around Southern California this week underscore the rising fire threat amid high temperatures.

The latest fire occurred Thursday night in La Habra Heights, briefly threatening homes. That came after firefighters battled blazes in Lancaster, Malibu, Santee and on Catalina Island.

Angeles National Forest announced this week it was raising its fire danger level from "low" to "high," citing the weather conditions.

"The Live Fuel Moisture readings have started to decline, grasses at lower elevations have begun to cure and recent fire activity has increased," officials said in a statement. "Despite the change, there are no new campfire restrictions.  Open wood and charcoal fires will still be permitted in approved 'developed' campgrounds and picnic areas."

Officials in parts of L.A. County have also reminded homeowners it's time to begin brush clearance around their homes.

In the La Habra Heights fire, about half-dozen people were evacuated from a board-and-care facility after the blaze broke out about 7:40 p.m. near Leucadia Road and burned up a steep hillside, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

But the threat to homes diminished as three helicopters made repeated water drops. They were assisted by about 60 firefighters on the ground. The fire was put out early Friday morning.

Weather conditions are cooling over the next few days, with highs in the 70s along the coast and the 80s inland.

It will be slightly cooler over the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.


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Four hurt, fire breaks out when SUV crashes into a Del Taco in the City of Industry

-- Shelby Grad and Robert J. Lopez

Photo: Brush fire Thursday night in La Habra Heights. Credit: KTLA News.