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Central California wildfire nearly 50 percent contained as hot, dry conditions persist

Central California wildfire nearly 50 percent contained as hot, dry conditions persist
From Reuters - July 16, 2017

(Reuters) - A damaging wildfire burning on California's scenic central coast was expected to continue burning into Monday, after fire fighters made progress on Sunday in containing the blaze which has destroyed 16 homes.

By Sunday evening the so-called Whittier Fire burning near Santa Barbara was 49 percent contained, an improvement from earlier in the day and nearing Friday's 50 percent containment, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, said.

Forecasters said that while temperatures and humidity trends would remain fairly constant, some cooling was expected due to onshore winds along the fire's coastal sections.

California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Santa Barbara County due to the Whittier and Alamo fires burning there.

Cal Fire bumped up the number of dwellings to 16 destroyed and one damaged by the Whittier fire after getting a closer look at the affected area. Most of them were burned in the early hours of the fire, which started on July 8.

The fire grew on Friday evening when so-called "sundowner" offshore winds picked up, pushing it into dry brush that has not burned since 1955, Cal Fire said.

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