Wildfire on California base 50 percent contained September 30, 2009 22:31

The Associated Press


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A wildfire that burned 350 acres of dry brush at Vandenberg Air Force Base was 50 percent contained Wednesday, authorities said.

"The forward movement of the fire has been stopped," said Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. David Sadecki. "We're not out of the woods yet, but we're making good progress."

The fire, reported just before noon, was caused by a blown transformer near the base's main gate on Highway 1, according to an Air Force news release. Power lines were down and sporadic electricity outages were reported.

Nonessential personnel in 25 base buildings were sent home shortly after the fire was reported.

The western edge of the blaze was contained, Sadecki said. To the east, the fire was halted at Pine Canyon, about a mile and a half from homes in the town of Vandenberg Village. No structures were threatened.

Vandenberg fire crews were working with the Santa Barbara County Fire Department to battle the blaze. At least 10 water-dropping aircraft were making runs over the fire.

The base is about 60 miles northwest of Santa Barbara. As many as 10,000 people work on the base every weekday.

Published: Wednesday, September 30, 2009 22:43 PDT

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