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800-Acre Wildfire Continues to Spread

800-Acre Wildfire Continues to Spread

Resident Warren Gillette takes photos as a plane drops fire retardant on the blaze near houses in the Home Gardens community near Corona. [AP]

Associated Press

May 21, 2010

CORONA, CA – Aircraft and ground crews battled an 800-acre wildfire Thursday as it spread over dry, brown hills in western Riverside County.

Flames burned near homes protected by cleared ground. Firefighters had the blaze 10 percent contained by late afternoon.

Even though there were no immediate threats to structures, the county Fire Department urged residents to be prepared to leave if necessary.

Mowing and brush-clearing equipment caused the fire, which burned near the community of Home Gardens east of Corona, about 45 miles southeast of Los Angeles, county fire officials said.

Helicopters made water-dropping runs as tankers painted red stripes of retardant across the fire’s path.

Weather conditions at the scene included a midafternoon temperature of 82 degrees, winds of 3 to 5 mph with gusts to 7 mph and relative humidity of 21 percent.

The National Weather Service said strong, gusty winds were expected today in other parts of Southern California, with “red flag” warnings for fire-weather conditions in some mountain and desert areas.