Californian wildfire threat eases

AFP-JIJI

Firefighters made “excellent” progress Saturday in battling a massive wildfire that threatened 4,000 homes near Los Angeles, nearly doubling the area under control, they said.

Helped by cooler temperatures and higher humidity, the nearly 2,000 firefighters tackling the blaze had contained 56 percent of the Springs Fire by day’s end, compared to 30 percent in the morning.

The inferno, the biggest of a series of wildfires fueled by tinder-dry brush and soaring temperatures last week in California — months before the usual wildfire season — could be fully under control by Monday.

The three-day blaze forced hundreds of residents to evacuate and damaged 15 homes in the rugged hills north of Malibu, some 65 km west of Los Angeles. By Saturday, the total area burned remained at 11,300 hectares.