Calif. Wildfire Burns 3K Acres; 'Volatile' Season Looms

Fire activity up 60% as blazes light up across state

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted May 2, 2013 7:49 AM CDT

(Newser) – More than 400 firefighters worked to significantly contain a wildfire in Southern California yesterday, but warn that things may get worse before they get better. The blaze burned across 4 1/2 square miles in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains, claiming one house and forcing hundreds to evacuate, NBC reports. The 53-year-old homeowner had lived there since the 1970s. "My mom passed away a month ago," he tells the AP. "So that was the biggest thing that hurt my heart is losing her. Losing the house is just minimal. We can rebuild."

But yesterday was just a "transition day," warned a state fire spokesperson. Expected winds of 20mph to 30mph could make today far more dangerous. "The grass, brush, and trees are very volatile. They're ready to burn," said the spokesperson. "Everything is just very dry. And not just in Southern California, statewide." Firefighters also battled blazes across the northern areas of the state, with fire activity up more than 60% from normal, according to another official. "We're going to be in for a very busy fire season," he said.

A Los Angeles County Fire Department helicopter dropping water on a fire burning on the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in Monrovia, California.
A Los Angeles County Fire Department helicopter dropping water on a fire burning on the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in Monrovia, California.   (AP Photo/John Antczak,File)
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