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California wildfire mostly contained

Oct. 30, 2006 at 7:31 AM

PALM SPRINGS, Calif., Oct. 30 (UPI) -- Calm winds and lower temperatures enabled southern California firefighters to contain a 40,000-acre wildfire that killed four firefighters.

Fire officials said the fire burning near Palm Springs was 85-percent contained Sunday, and full containment was expected sometime Monday, The Los Angeles Times reported.

"Mother Nature is now helping us for the first time, but we don't want to be complacent," said Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry.

The Palm Springs (Calif.) Desert Sun said the cost of fighting the fire had surpassed $8.3 million and a $500,000 reward has been posted for information leading to the arrest of whoever set the blaze.

Thursday, a five-man firefighting crew was trapped by flames trying to save homes, and four were killed. The fifth man was in "extremely critical" condition Monday with burns over 90 percent of his body, the newspaper said.

Sunday's progress led fire officials to release 300 of the nearly 3,000 firefighters battling the blaze, the report said.

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