Calmer winds help firefighters in California

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Associated Press

Posted on May 17, 2014 at 5:05 PM

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Calmer winds across Southern California have helped firefighters gain ground against fires that have destroyed homes and raced through nearly 20,000 acres of brush land in San Diego County.

However, a new fire at the Camp Pendleton Marine base in Southern California has left some evacuations in place.

Three fires continue to burn at Pendleton: A 15,000-acre blaze that began Thursday is 40 percent contained, and a new fire that quickly grew to 800 acres Friday was 25 percent surrounded by last night. A 6,500-acre fire at a neighboring Navy weapons station and rolled onto the base and the city of Fallbrook is 65 percent contained.

Meanwhile, authorities have charged a man for adding fuel to one of the nearly dozen blazes. Alberto Serrato pleaded not guilty to an arson charge in connection with one of the smaller fires in suburban Oceanside that is now fully contained. Police say the man is not believed to have started the fire.

All together, the wildfires about 30 miles north of San Diego have caused more than $20 million in damage.

%@AP Links

141-c-12-(Ellilot Spagat, AP correspondent)-"to their homes"-AP correspondent Elliot Spagat reports firefighters have made a lot of progress in battling the wildfires in the past few days. ((watch for dating)) (17 May 2014)

<<CUT *141 (05/17/14)££ 00:12 "to their homes"

139-c-06-(Ellilot Spagat, AP correspondent)-"have died down"-AP correspondent Ellilot Spagat reports on improved weather conditions in the San Diego area today. (17 May 2014)

<<CUT *139 (05/17/14)££ 00:06 "have died down"

140-c-09-(Ellilot Spagat, AP correspondent)-"being shifted there"-AP correspondent Elliot Spagat reports firefighters are in clean up mode for most of the fires in San Diego County. (17 May 2014)

<<CUT *140 (05/17/14)££ 00:09 "being shifted there"

APPHOTO CAGB113: Smoke plumes rise behind the Marine Corps Camp Pendleton entrance Friday, May 16, 2014, in Oceanside, Calif. San Diego County officials said Friday five wildfires have been 100 percent contained. Still, crews were focusing efforts on two large fires — one in the city of San Marcos and two blazes at the Marine Corps' Camp Pendleton. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull) (16 May 2014)

<<APPHOTO CAGB113 (05/16/14)££

APPHOTO CAGB112: Marines move military vehicles near the entrance to Marine Corps Camp Pendleton in front of smoke plumes from the Las Pulgas wildfire burning on base Friday, May 16, 2014, in Oceanside, Calif. San Diego County officials said Friday five wildfires have been 100 percent contained. Still, crews were focusing efforts on two large fires — one in the city of San Marcos and two blazes at the Marine Corps' Camp Pendleton. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull) (16 May 2014)

<<APPHOTO CAGB112 (05/16/14)££

APPHOTO AZTS201: In this May 16, 2014 photo, a paddle boarder watches as two firefighting helicopters take on water from the Pacific Ocean off of San Clemente, Calif. The water-dropping helicopters were part of a larger effort combating three wildfires at the nearby Camp Pendleton Marine base. The fires prompted about 8,400 military personnel and their families to be sent home from various parts of the sprawling coastal base between Los Angeles and San Diego. (AP Photo/Bailey Bianco) (16 May 2014)

<<APPHOTO AZTS201 (05/16/14)££

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