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Agua Dulce brush fire 70% contained; blaze near Tehachapi rages

September 6, 2011 |  8:44 am

Agua Dulce brush fire

Firefighters have gained the upper hand on a brush fire in Agua Dulce that has burned about 500 acres, but a blaze near Tehachapi is only 10% contained after destroying a dozen homes, fire officials said Tuesday.

A state official said the Canyon fire, which started Sunday morning after a small plane crash that killed two occupants just south of Tehachapi, has now blackened over 13,000 acres.

"Last night it grew pretty significantly," said Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. "The wind last night was pretty strong and that allowed the fire to grow quickly.

"The winds have died down this morning so we hope to take advantage of that before the heat of the day comes ... and build containment around this fire."

Berlant said more than 1,200 firefighters have been brought in to battle the blaze, with state crews assisted by firefighters from several Southern California counties.

The fire has destroyed 12 homes and 15 other structures. Berlant said hundreds more homes remain threatened.

Better progress was made in Agua Dulce, where a blaze that started Monday afternoon along Wagon Wheel Road was 70% contained Tuesday, an official said.

"We’re getting ready for our second operation of the day," said Inspector Matt Levesque of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Levesque said fire crews were continuing to surround the fire, making an aggressive early morning push before the day got hotter.

The fire, which has burned about 500 acres, began when a pair of trailers caught fire in the area, Levesque said.

Two people -- a firefighter and a civilian -- suffered minor injuries.


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-- Kurt Streeter

Photo: An air tanker drops retardant Monday next to the wildfire in Agua Dulce. Credit: Mike Meadows / Associated Press