LOCKWOOD VALLEY, Calif. – Fire crews stopped the spread of a tenacious blaze that has burned since Labor Day in Los Padres National Forest, officials said Friday.
The Day Fire was 63 percent contained after burning nearly 250 square miles, of wilderness about 70 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
It was expected to be fully surrounded by Monday evening.
"There really is no active fire," fire spokesman Dan Bastion said. "The only thing that's going to be burning is some unburned islands of fuel well within the interior."
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Calm winds slowed the flames as crews dug 34 miles of fire lines on Thursday, leaving just 19 miles to clear in the fight against the fifth-largest fire in state history.
"Persistence pays off. You gotta keep pounding on it," Bastion said.
Evacuations that had been urged for several mountain communities were downgraded to precautionary warnings.
Only Lockwood Valley, on the fire's northwestern edge, remained under recommended evacuation but no homes were in immediate danger, Bastion said.
Winds were calms at about 5 mph on Friday, although the weather remained hot and dry, Bastion said.
More than 4,800 firefighters were assigned to the blaze, which earlier in the week destroyed two barns, two outbuildings, three trailers, an unoccupied cabin and five vehicles.
Firefighting costs have topped $57.5 million. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has authorized the use of federal funds to cover some expenses.