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BLAZE BATTLED FROM WITHIN FIREFIGHTERS HOPING TO CONTAIN FLAMES.



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 FARRELL AIDEM Staff writer

LOS PADRES NATIONAL FOREST Los Padres National Forest is a forest located in southern and central California, which includes most of the mountainous land along the California coast from Ventura to Monterey, extending inland. Elevations range from sea level to 8,831 feet.  -- Taking advantage of cooler weather, hundreds of ``hotshot'' firefighters descended Thursday deep into Ventura County's wilderness. There they will combat the immense Day Fire in hopes of beating it before winds kick up this weekend.

The highly skilled crews, helicoptered into this rugged land within the Los Padres National Forest, eat and sleep when they can, then will rotate with others after a few days, said fire Capt. Glenn Skaggs of the neighboring Angeles National Forest The Angeles National Forest (ANF) was established by executive order on December 20, 1892 as the San Gabriel Timberland Reserve. It covers over 2,600 km² (650,000 acres) and is located in the San Gabriel Mountains of Los Angeles County, just north of the metropolitan area of Los  where the fire has spread.

It marks the first time since this fire ignited 11 days ago on Labor Day Labor Day, holiday celebrated in the United States and Canada on the first Monday in September to honor the laborer. It was inaugurated by the Knights of Labor in 1882 and made a national holiday by the U.S. Congress in 1894.  that firefighters have battled it from the inside, Skaggs said. The fire is about 10 miles northwest of Castaic.

Terrain is so daunting daunt  
tr.v. daunt·ed, daunt·ing, daunts
To abate the courage of; discourage. See Synonyms at dismay.



[Middle English daunten, from Old French danter, from Latin
 and winds erratic that crews had tried working the perimeter of the 30,639-acre blaze, avoiding bulldozing and other measures that would harm the wilderness. But flames quickly spread, fueled by high heat and extremely low humidity. Aggressive moves were ordered when the fire threatened to jump Interstate 5 toward a mobile home park, and to spread toward homes in Castaic, Piru and Fillmore.

Thursday afternoon, the fire was but 30 percent contained. Until it's fully contained -- a complete line around it -- sections of the Angeles forest, including the Pyramid Lake Pyramid Lake, 188 sq mi (487 sq km), W Nev. The lake, a remnant of ancient Lake Lahontan, receives the Truckee River. Visited (1844) by U.S. explorer John Frémont, the lake was named for its large pyramidal rocks.  recreation area, the Hungry Valley off-road vehicle off-road vehicle off nvéhicule m tout-terrain  park and a sliver of forest east of the I-5 and north of Castaic will remain closed, forest spokeswoman Sherry Rollman said.

``We want to make sure nobody's in there if the fire's direction changes,'' Rollman said. ``It's been very unpredictable but we're blessed today. It's overcast and that's definitely helped.''

The cooler weather, with its 60 percent humidity Wednesday night, caused firefighters to cancel planned backfires -- controlled burns that eat up brush and create breaks to stop the wildfire from advancing, Skaggs said.

``The big plan last night was to burn along the (bull)dozer lines,'' he said. ``The weather changed and consequently we couldn't burn, but the fire was reduced so we started inserting hotshot crews.''

On Saturday, the dreaded hot and dry Santa Ana winds Santa Ana Winds may refer to:
1. Santa Ana wind, a local Southern California reference to Föhn winds, a meteorological phenomenon occurring as a layer of wind is forced over a mountain range -- drying the air -- which then passes over the crest and begins to move downslope --
 are due. The goal is to tackle the fire as much as possible to avoid huge flare-ups.

``There's a big push to get the crews in,'' he said. ``The big push is the next 48 hours.''

Fifty-one 20-member crews were being taken into the forest by helicopter, 10 to 12 hotshots at a time. They carry rations and bedding, and more food will be delivered by air.

While this fire, burning an area more than 40 square miles, has been fueled, doused and possibly whipped up again by weather, Mother Nature hinted Thursday at still more bad news in the coming months.

El Nino conditions, which typically mean heavy rain in Southern California Southern California, also colloquially known as SoCal, is the southern portion of the U.S. state of California. Centered on the cities of Los Angeles and San Diego, Southern California is home to nearly 24 million people and is the nation's second most populated region, , are brewing, according to according to
prep.
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

3.
 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center in Maryland.

El Nino is a warming of the water in the tropical Pacific that is associated with worldwide weather extremes.

``So they'll be talking mudslides,'' Skaggs said. ``But the really big impact here will be the flow of debris. That'll be another story.''

pat.aidem(at)dailynews.com

(661) 257-5251

CAPTION(S):

photo

Photo:

(ran in Valley edition only) Firefighters who worked on the Day Fire the night before catch up on sleep at the Lake Hughes fire camp near Castaic. The fire slowed to a crawl as humidity rose and temperatures fell.

Casey Christine/The Bakersfield Californian
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 15, 2006
Words:580
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