Cooler Weather Aids Fight Against Calif. Wildfire

CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) -

Cool, moist air moving into Southern California on Sunday helped firefighters build containment lines around a huge wildfire burning through coastal mountains.

Fire crews took advantage of improved conditions as the high winds and hot, dry air of recent days were replaced by the normal Pacific air, significantly reducing fire activity.

The 44-square-mile blaze at the western end of the Santa Monica Mountains was 60 percent surrounded on Sunday.

Full containment was expected Monday, according to Ventura County fire officials.

The progress made led authorities to lift evacuation orders Saturday for residences in several areas.

The National Weather Service said an approaching low pressure system would bring a 20 percent chance of showers Sunday afternoon, with the likelihood increasing into the night and on Monday.

Nearly 2,000 firefighters using engines, bulldozers and aircraft worked to corral the blaze.

Firefighting efforts were focused on the fire’s east side, rugged canyons that are a mix of public and private lands, Ventura County Fire Department spokesman Tom Kruschke said.

The change in the weather was also expected to bring gusty winds to some parts of Southern California, but well away from the fire area.

Despite its size and speed of growth, the fire that broke out Thursday and quickly moved through neighborhoods of Camarillo Springs and Thousand Oaks has caused damage to just 15 homes, though it has threatened thousands.