Headway Expected Against Malibu Wildfire That Destroyed 49 Homes

Fire crews hope mild temperatures and gentle winds today will help them solidify gains against the sprawling wildfire that has destroyed dozens of homes in this upscale coastal community.

Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Ron Haralson says hot, powerful winds that fanned the blaze across 4,720 acres starting early Saturday are not expected today.

The fire is about 40 percent contained, with few flames visible to the three water-dropping helicopters deployed over the fire zone.

Said Haralson: "Winds have subsided considerably and we're making good headway."

Forty-nine homes were destroyed Saturday by the fast-moving wildfire pushed by Santa Ana winds. Twenty-seven other homes were damaged and up to 14,000 people were evacuated.

Now, an estimated half of the evacuees have been allowed to return home. Fire officials believe they will gain better control of the blaze today and fully contain it by Tuesday.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)