Grand Fire burns 3,500 acres in Los Padres National Forest

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(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

FRAZIER PARK, Calif. (AP) — Cooler temperatures and lighter winds gave hundreds of firefighters a slight reprieve Thursday from a 3,500-acre wildfire that has blackened rugged terrain in the Los Padres National Forest.

The fire that broke out Wednesday charred 3,500 acres of dry, thick trees, despite a heavy aerial effort to beat back flames in the largely unpopulated area. The blaze was 15 percent contained.

No structures were threatened although a high school was evacuated as a precaution. No injuries have been reported.

The fire near Interstate 5 through Frazier Park, where Kern and northern Los Angeles counties meet, was being fanned by winds that may reach up to 35 mph Thursday.

“It’s definitely gusty, but we’re lucky, the winds are blowing away from homes,” said Kern County Fire Department spokesman Corey Wilford. “It would be better if we didn’t have winds at all though.”

The fire started just before 1:30 p.m. Wednesday and initially burned thick brush, seasonal grasses and sage, but then moved into the trees.

The cooler weather helped firefighters overnight clear brush and create breaks in hopes of slowing the blaze. Efforts on Thursday were focused on the southern edge of the fire and an aerial assault by helicopters and tankers will help snuff out flames that can’t be reached by ground crews, authorities said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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