Calming winds may help in Southern California firefight

A Southern California wildfire continues to burn homes as it runs toward the sea. But winds that drove the ferocious flames have eased.

Forecasters say the 50-mph gusts won’t return until Sunday, and hard-pressed firefighters hope to use that respite to make progress in halting the spread of flames.

Even so, TV reports show homes, palm trees and even power poles erupting in flames.

The Woolsey fire and smaller Hill blaze have destroyed more than 150 homes and prompted evacuation orders for about 250,000 people from Thousand Oaks northwest of Los Angeles to the celebrity enclave of Malibu.

There’s no word on what sparked the fires Thursday. But winds are blamed for pushing the fire through scenic canyon communities and ridgetop homes.

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