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California Fires Contained - 2002-05-14


California firefighters have contained a blaze that threatened homes near Los Angeles. Another fire in the area is 80 percent contained, as the fire season gets underway in parts of California.

Firefighters set backfires to contain the 450-hectare blaze in suburban Orange County, south of Los Angeles. A firefighter on the scene says the fast-moving blaze threatened as many as 200 homes. "And we just didn't seem to have all the resources in place at that point," he said. "So our number one priority became to protect those homes, and that's where we diverted those resources."

By 11 o'clock Monday night, the fire was contained.

A smaller blaze near Riverside, California, burned a home and some outlying buildings before it was controlled. Two people were treated for smoke inhalation. In the Santa Clarita area north of Los Angeles, a wildfire that has burned 2,000 hectares was 80 percent contained Tuesday morning.

Officials say a dry winter has left vegetation susceptible to fire early in the year, especially in Southern California. The officials expect a moderate fire season in the northern part of the state, where the season officially started Monday. They expect more serious fires in coming months in Southern California.

As wildfires keep firefighters busy near Los Angeles, officials near San Francisco report little damage and no injuries from another of the West Coast's recurring natural hazards. An earthquake of magnitude 5.2 rocked the San Francisco Bay Monday night, rattling spectators at a National Hockey League playoff game in San Jose. The quake was centered near Gilroy, 120 kilometers southeast of San Francisco.

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