AP NEWS

The Latest: 70% of Southern California wildfire contained

November 4, 2019

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on wildfires in California (all times local):

9:55 p.m.

Authorities say they have now contained 70% of the wildfire northwest of Los Angeles known as the Maria fire.

They say firefighters are being helped by the cooler temperatures and lighter winds. Crews are checking buildings for damage.

The blaze has burned nearly 15 square miles (39 sq. kilometers) of dry brush and timber.

The fire began Oct. 31 during dry winds that fanned fires across the state.

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6:35 p.m. The Ventura Unified School District says eight of its schools will be closed Monday because of ash and debris from the Maria wildfire.

Superintendent Roger Rice says the schools that will be closed are Juanamaria Elementary, Portola Elementary, Citrus Glenn Elementary, Montalvo Arts Academy, ATLAS Academy of Technology and Leadership at Saticoy, Junipero Serra Elementary, Balboa Middle School, and Mound Magnet for Science and Global Citizenship. The schools are expected to reopen Tuesday.

All of the 16,800-student district’s other schools will be open Monday.

Rice says: “Our teams inspected school sites this weekend. It was determined that eight of our schools had a significant amount of ash that needed to be cleaned up prior to students and staff returning.” ___

1:50 p.m.

Authorities have arrested a man on suspicion of setting a series of small brush fires in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The East Bay Times reports the blazes collectively burned fewer than 10 acres of Garin Regional Park in Hayward on Saturday. No injuries were reported.

Park officials say responding firefighters spotted a suspicious person nearby. A short time later police arrested 42-year-old Roman Montalvo. He could face charges including arson and resisting arrest. It wasn’t known Sunday if he has an attorney.

The newspaper says Montalvo was wanted on an unspecified felony warrant.

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10:10 a.m.

Authorities have lifted all evacuations as firefighters make progress against a wildfire that sent thousands fleeing homes northwest of Los Angeles.

Ventura County Fire Capt. Steve Kaufmann says crews on Sunday are battling hotspots and keeping an eye on lingering winds. But he says officials are “cautiously optimistic.”

Firefighters working in steep conditions have contained 50% of the blaze, which has burned nearly 15 square miles (39 sq. kilometers) of dry brush and timber.

The blaze began Oct. 31 during dry winds that fanned fires across the state.

In Northern California, a 121-square-mile (313-square-kilometer) fire in Sonoma County wine country is 76% contained.

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8:45 a.m.

President Donald Trump is threatening to cut U.S. funding to California for aid during wildfires that have burned across the state during dry winds this fall.

Trump tweeted Sunday that California Gov. Gavin Newsom has done a “terrible job of forest management.” He tweeted that when fires rage, the governor comes to the federal government for help. “No more,” the president tweeted.

Newsom didn’t immediately comment. However, the state controls just a small percentage of forest land. The federal government manages most of it.

Last year Trump made a similar threat as wildfires devastated Malibu and Paradise, California — accusing the state of “gross mismanagement” of forests.

At the time Newsom defended California’s wildfire prevention efforts while criticizing the federal government for not doing enough to help protect the state.