Favorable Winds Help Fight Against 67,000 acre California Fire

Cool temperatures and favorable winds Monday were helping firefighters battle a huge wildfire that has burned for more than a month in Santa Barbara County and flared during the weekend.

Winds from the southwest were blowing the fire into wilderness and away from homes and buildings, fire spokesman Jim Lopez said.

"The firefighters should get a little bit of relief," he said.

More than 2,300 fire personnel, 25 water-dropping aircraft and more than 100 engines were fighting the blaze burning in mountainous Los Padres National Forest about 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles

Firefighters received a boost of more than 50 additional fire engines Sunday.

The fire has burned across about 67,000 acres, about 105 square miles. It was 68 percent contained Monday morning, with full containment expected Sept. 7, Lopez said.

The fire was heading toward the rugged Dick Smith Wilderness area, covered with chaparral and scattered pines.

Evacuation orders remained in effect for a handful of areas, including the Peachtree Community and the hamlet of Paradise Road.

The fire was ignited July 4 by sparks from equipment used to repair a water pipe. On Friday, weather conditions brought the slumbering fire to life and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in the county.

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

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