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Roaring winds fuel raging California wildfire, expected to continue Friday

Roaring winds fuel raging California wildfire, expected to continue Friday
CNN
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Friday, May 3, 2013 - 9:01am

More crews join fire effort

Crews frantically battling fast-moving wildfires in Southern California will get no relief Friday as heavy winds threaten to grow one blaze that has scorched thousands of acres.

"Gusty Santa Ana winds will continue to bring extreme fire danger to the area through Friday," the National Weather Service said. "Warnings are in effect for much of Los Angeles and Ventura counties through Friday afternoon, where there will continue to be a threat of rapid wildfire spread."

Winds could reach up to 35 mph Friday in the Ventura County area where the Springs Fire is raging. Along with burning 8,000 acres, it threatens some 2,000 homes, fire officials said.

The blaze damaged 15 homes and caused the evacuation of others and the campus of California State University Channel Islands, fire officials said.

Paul Whyte of Newbury Park city said he panicked when he found his home surrounded by flames.

Firefighters saved his home by diverting the blaze although nine acres of shrubbery in the area burned, he said.

"Your natural response is fear," Whyte told CNN's Piers Morgan. "I am glad my family is well and our house is still standing."

The blaze was 10% contained Thursday evening, officials said. And several neighborhoods in the area were evacuated as 925 fire and law personnel struggled to control the situation.

Another fire

That blaze was one of two that firefighters were battling in the Los Angeles area. The other one was east of the city in Riverside County. In that fire, firefighters made progress against flames that consumed more than 2,950 acres, a fire official said.

The spread of the blaze seemed to slow early Thursday morning, and crews gained greater containment, now pegged at 40% with no growth in acreage, according to the state agency Cal Fire.

Paul Vercammen reported from Newbury Park and Lateef Mungin wrote from Atlanta.

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