Lull in winds aids fight against Southern California wildfires

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(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) — Firefighters are taking advantage of a lull in winds to try to gain ground against a forest fire in mountains north of Santa Barbara.

Elsewhere in Southern California, crews are chasing a new fire north of Los Angeles and are working to increase containment of a rural San Diego County blaze.

The Santa Barbara County blaze erupted Monday in Los Padres National Forest, carving its way through 2.8 square miles of dry chaparral, oak and pine. It was only 10 percent contained on Tuesday, and the forecast calls for wind gusts of up to 40 mph.

Santa Barbara County firefighters say more than 550 firefighters are on the line, supported by a dozen aircraft.

The fire prompted the evacuation of about 50 homes, but residents were expected to return Tuesday evening.

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