LOCKWOOD VALLEY, Calif. – Fire crews kept watch over the sparse remains of one of the largest wildfires in state history to ensure there were no flare-ups.
The Day Fire in Los Padres National Forest was 73 percent contained late Friday after burning 162,547 acres of wilderness about 70 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Crews hoped to encircle it by Monday evening.
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"We're finally turning the corner on this fire and we hope the weather continues to cooperate," said Kathy Good of the U.S. Forest Service. "Firefighters are working very hard and I'm sure everyone will be relieved when the fire is fully contained and everyone can breathe a sigh of relief."
Nearly 4,800 firefighters worked the 254 square-mile blaze in rural Ventura County, many of them mopping up hot spots, said Peter Frenzen of the U.S. Forest Service.
The fire began on Labor Day, caused by someone burning debris, and grew into the fifth-largest fire in California history.
Calm winds at the end of the week slowed the spread of flames as crews dug 34 miles of fire lines. They have 13 more miles to close the gap.
Only Lockwood Valley, on the fire's northwestern edge, remained under recommended evacuation but no homes were in immediate danger.
The National Weather Service issued a "red flag" warning of extreme fire danger for the day because of low humidity, which dries out vegetation, but winds were light. Fire officials said there was still potential for hot embers to be spread by wind.
"In this neck of the woods, we have to pay attention to localized wind conditions and we will be monitoring that as we wrap this up," Good said.
Elsewhere, Los Angeles County firefighters rushed to combat a 40-acre brushfire in the Newhall Pass area of Santa Clarita by Interstate 5, a fire dispatch supervisor said. The blaze was nearly contained Friday evening. Its cause was under investigation.