Partly cloudy

Lull in winds aids fight against Southern California wildfire

  • This photo released by the Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue taken on Monday May 27, 2013 showing smoke from a wildfire burning long the mountains north of Santa Barbara, Calif. Fire crews watched the winds Tuesday as they struggled to corral a wildfire that sent thousands of campers fleeing the mountains above Santa Barbara and threatened dozens of cabins. (AP Photo/Valerie Walston, Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue)

SANTA BARBARA — Firefighters took advantage of a lull in winds on Tuesday to try to gain ground against a forest fire in mountains north of Santa Barbara, as crews elsewhere in Southern California chased a new fire north of Los Angeles and sought to increase containment of a rural San Diego County blaze.

The Santa Barbara County blaze erupted Monday in Los Padres National Forest, carving its way through 2.8 square miles of dry chaparral, oak and pine. It was only 10 percent contained, and the forecast later in the day was for wind gusts of up to 40 mph, Santa Barbara County fire Capt. David Sadecki said.

More than 550 firefighters were on the line, supported by a dozen aircraft.

The fire prompted the evacuation of about 50 homes, mainly cabins and vacation rentals, but residents were expected to return Tuesday evening.

At the fire's height, as many as 6,000 campers scrambled out of forest areas on the Memorial Day holiday.

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