MALIBU, Calif. – Firefighters made progress Wednesday against a wildfire burning in chaparral in the hills above Malibu. Several schools were closed as a precaution, and the fire crews there and in Orange County worried about the wind picking up again.
The fire above Malibu covered only 25 acres but it moved between two canyons a few miles from the Pepperdine University campus.
The canyons are historical fire corridors, carrying wind-driven wildfires that swept from the Calabasas area to Malibu in 1993 and 1996, destroying hundreds of homes.
"The whole Malibu area has had a history of fire," Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Sam Padilla said.
Crews doused the main body of fire in a few hours and concentrated on smaller hot spots, but wind up to 40 mph and 90-degree temperatures were forecast later in the day.
"It's definitely a concern. ... it's going to get hotter and drier," Los Angeles County fire Inspector John Mancha said.
There was no immediate threat to homes. The fire apparently was started by a vehicle fire, authorities said.
In Orange County, another blaze had blackened 7,000 acres in the Cleveland National Forest, just east of the cities of Orange and Anaheim, said Dennis Shell, a spokesman for the Orange County Fire Authority.
The temperature was rising there, too, along with the humidity and a threat of increased wind.
"Today's going to be a very critical day for us," Shell said.
Authorities believed the Orange County fire developed from a controlled burn that was started Feb. 2, when no Santa Ana wind was predicted for at least five days, said Rich Hawkins of the Cleveland National Forest. Prescribed burns in the forest have been temporarily suspended, he said.