Cooler weather helps contain California fires

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ESCONDIDO, Calif., Oct 28 (Reuters) Cooler, calmer weather helped firefighters gain the upper hand over seven remaining wildfires in Southern California today, although state officials said blazes still threatened 12,000 homes.

A fire in Orange County's Silverado Canyon covering 27,900 acres (11,290 hectares) was about 50 per cent contained, up from 40 per cent late yesterday, according to Fire Captain Phil Rawlings.

''The situation is looking very good as far as no additional acreage burning,'' Rawlings said in a phone interview. ''We are doing very good with the weather cooperating with us.'' Rawlings said, however, the weather was not expected to be as cool as it was yesterday, when firefighters kept the blaze from crossing a ridge and storming toward homes in a neighboring county.

Earlier in the week, hot, dry winds fueled as many as 24 separate wildfires, ravaging more than 500,000 acres (202,400 hectares) and destroying 2,300 structures, according to the California Office of Emergency Services. The fires have also been responsible for 12 deaths and 78 injuries.

The largest fire, in San Diego County, has burned more than 300 square miles (800 sq km) and was at least 60 per cent contained as of yesterday.

Reuters GT DB2230

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