Firefighters near victory against California blazes
Firefighters edged closer to declaring victory against two wildfires burning north of Los Angeles on Thursday, with both blazes forecast to be fully under control by the weekend.
A lull in winds which had sent the flames roaring through thousands of acres of tinder-dry brush earlier this week had allowed fire crews battling the fires to make significant inroads overnight.
The two fires near the suburbs of Porter Ranch and San Fernando have scorched around 7,689 hectares since Sunday, leaving one person dead, destroying more than 100 homes and buildings, and forcing thousands to flee.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department said on its website the largest of the two fires, a 5,716 hectares blaze near Porter Ranch, was 70-percent contained, with full containment forecast for Saturday.
Firefighters carry hoses up a ridge as they build a containment line in the LA area community of Porter Ranch.
All evacuation orders had been lifted and people forced to leave their homes had been allowed to return, the department said. The fire appeared to have been caused by an electrical line falling on dry brush, it added.
The smaller of the two fires, which has burnt 1,952 hectares near San Fernando, was 92 percent contained, the fire department said.
The cause of the fire, which claimed the life of a homeless man living in a makeshift cardboard shack, remains unknown.
The Los Angeles fires were among several that broke out this week, marking the start of California's traditional fire season.
California is frequently hit by scorching wildfires due to its dry climate, Santa Ana winds and recent housing booms which have seen housing spread rapidly into rural and densely forested areas.
The latest fires comes roughly one year after devastating wildfires that were among the worst in California history left eight people dead, destroyed 2,000 homes, displaced 640,000 people and caused one billion dollars in damage. - AFP/de