Fires rage in California, New Mexico, burn thousands of acres

June 1, 2013 at 2:41 PM
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LOS ANGELES, June 1 (UPI) -- A wildfire in California's Angeles National Forest and the Santa Clarita area north of Los Angeles had burned about 3,600 acres as of Saturday, officials said.

The Powerhouse fire, which has been burning for three days, is 15 percent contained, the Los Angeles Times reported. Hot, dry conditions and a rugged terrain hindered firefighters trying to quell the flames.

One structure has been destroyed by the fire and one minor injury has been reported.

In Santa Barbara County, the White fire has burned nearly 2,000 acres, the Times said.

An investigation found that the White fire, which started Sunday in the Los Padres National Forest, was sparked by embers that blew away from an approved fire-use site at the White Rock Day Use Area in the Lower Santa Ynez Recreation Area.

"The White fire could have been avoided if this person or persons paid closer attention to their cooking fire," said Santa Barbara District Ranger Pancho Smith.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez Friday declared a state of emergency for San Miguel County, freeing up state funds for fire response to the Tres Lagunas Fire, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

That fire started Thursday and as of Friday had burned 2,500 acres in the Santa Fe National Forest, officials said.

"It's an ongoing situation," said Lawrence Lujan, a spokesman for the national forest. "It's very hard to predict how long this will last or how far it'll spread. Based on the conditions, [the fire] has the potential to grow very quickly."

As of Friday morning, the Tres Lagunas Fire was 5 percent contained, but that fell back to zero percent as high winds and dry conditions caused the fire to grow, the Journal said.

About 134 summer homes and residences were evacuated Friday, but none had burned.

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