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CA firefighters gain ground

Favorable winds helped firefighters.

BY HEATHER MOYER | BALTIMORE | September 29, 2006

Favorable winds helped firefighters bring the Day Wildfire more under control Thursday. All but one evacuation order has been lifted.

Officials had been worried that Thursday's weather would make fighting the fire difficult, but the expected high wind gusts failed to surface. The blaze has consumed more than 160,000 acres since it started on Labor Day in Southern California's Los Padres National Forest.

The wildfire is now 63% contained. The evacuation orders for Lake of the Woods, Pinon Pines/Cuddy Valley and Pine Mountain Club has been lowered to "precautionary status" now, meaning residents can return but must be ready to leave at short notice. A "recommended evacuation" order remains in effect for Lockwood Valley.

According to a Los Padres National Forest release, "A recommended evacuation is the highest level of notification and indicates that 'it is time to go.'"

More than 4,700 personnel are assigned to the Day Wildfire. A Red Flag Warning does remain in effect for most of the day Friday, meaning low humidity and gusty winds are likely.

Six buildings have been burned thus far, most of those being outbuildings and none having been confirmed as a primary residence. Evacuated residents are staying at two nearby high schools turned shelters.

Forest officials closed off large sections of Los Padres due to the blaze, prohibiting all public entry to forest lands, trails, roads and recreation sites.

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