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Firefighters move in on southern California blaze as wind gusts seen

Firefighters move in on southern California blaze as wind gusts seen

FILE PHOTO: A firefighting bulldozer battles the Bond Fire wildfire near Lake Irvine in Orange County, California, US, Dec 3, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo)

LOS ANGELES: Firefighters have made some progress reining in a blaze in a Southern California canyon, but faced more high winds and low humidity on Friday (Dec 4) that threatened to stoke the flames which had forced thousands to leave their homes.

The Bond Fire was less than a third contained after it broke out on Wednesday on the road for which it is named and quickly engulfed much of Silverado Canyon, driven by strong Santa Ana winds.

FILE PHOTO: The Bond Fire wildfire continues to burn next to electrical power lines near Modjeska Canyon, California, US, Dec 3, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo)

"Continued mapping of the Bond fire has it at 7,375 acres with 30per cent containment," fire officials in Orange county said on Twitter, or an area of 2,985 ha.

"Firefighters worked through the night extinguishing hot spots, mopping up around structures and stopping the forward spread of this fire," county fire official Paul Holaday said in a video posted to Twitter.

Air and ground units were focused on protecting the canyon communities of Silverado, Santiago, Williams and Modjesca, he added.

Two firefighters taken to hospital with injuries on Thursday were released and were "doing okay," the fire officials said on Twitter.

A burned truck is shown after the Bond Fire wildfire burned through portions of Modjeska Canyon, California, US, Dec 3, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Mike Blake)

The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning of gusty winds until 10pm on Saturday for the inland part of the county.

Utility Pacific Gas and Electric said it stood ready to cut power in some northern and central parts of the state from early on Monday as dry conditions and expected high winds heighten damage risks.

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As many as 25,000 people had been forced to flee the blaze but by Friday morning officials had lifted some evacuation orders, including those for the Lake Forest community.

On Twitter, the Orange County Fire Authority said the blaze started as a structure fire in Silverado Canyon on Bond Road that "fully engulfed a home." Strong winds then drove the flames into nearby vegetation, officials said.

A motorist evacuating from the wind driven Bond Fire wildfire drives into a smoke filled highway near Lake Irvine in Orange County, California, US, Dec 3, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Mike Blake)

Residents said the flames erupted when a home generator exploded.

Since the start of the year, wildfires have scorched more than 17,000 sq km of California land, the state's forestry department says.

The land area burned each year in the western United States has grown eight times larger in less than four decades, US Forest Service researchers said last month.

Source: Reuters/kv

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