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Wind Fuels 600-Acre Wildfire In Monterey County

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(CBS)

SOLEDAD, Monterey County (CBS SF) – Firefighters remained Friday morning on the scene of a large vegetation fire in Monterey County.

Emergency crews initially responded to the fire on the north side of state Highway 146, east of Soledad in unincorporated Monterey County, at about 6:35 p.m. Thursday, spokesman Jonathon Pangburn said.

Responders arrived and found 20 to 30 acres of grass and light brush involved in the fire. The wind pushed the flames and the blaze spread across the highway, Pangburn said.

“Winds and some warm temperatures helped fan the flames and it quickly grew,” explained Pangburn.  The fire was last estimated at some 600 acres.

Overnight, some homes in the area were threatened by the flames, as well as some high voltage power lines, he added.

Several residents in the area were advised to evacuate as a precaution but no mandatory evacuations were issued. In fact, fire officials did not expect any mandatory evacuations to become necessary and hoped to contain the blaze – which has since grown to 600 acres – before the weekend began.

Firefighters, still, faced a daunting task.

“They’re dealing with some steep terrain, rugged country with quite a bit of brush fuel up at the top at the ridge line,” Pangburn said. “And there are also some isolated structures out here on ranches.”

“At this point things are looking really good,” Pangburn added. “They’re making good progress on containment.”

The cause of the fire was under investigation, though Pangburn said one thing was already clear – there was little lush land at the moment.

“Grass has been curing for a while, it’s definitely yellow and brown but the brush is surprisingly dry for this time of year,” he warned. “We’re definitely getting closer to peak fire season at this point.”

With the warmest months fast approaching, Pangburn said the fire should serve as a reminder for everyone – not just Monterey County residents.

“The brush is drying out, the grass is curing and so wherever you are in the state of California please be aware that wildfires can be a threat to you and your home so please create defensible space.”

For information on creating a defensible space, visit readyforwildfire.org.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

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