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Southern California Wildfires Spurred By High Winds Force Hundreds To Evacuate

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CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (AP) — A nearly 4-square-mile wildfire on the Marine Corps' Camp Pendleton was reduced to smoldering Monday as hot, dry Santa Ana winds faded and a cooling trend began as a storm approached.

About 230 residents return to housing near Lake O'Neil on Sunday evening, base officials said in a statement. Some 30 patients removed from a base hospital were returned.

Sixty-seven percent of the burn area was surrounded and full containment was expected Tuesday.

The fire broke out Saturday as gusty Santa Anas, spawned by high pressure over the West, brought heat and very low humidity levels to parts of Southern California.

About 40 miles to the north, a fire in a mulch pile at a nursery near Santiago Canyon in Orange County prompted the evacuation of 23 residents Sunday.

The fire was not threatening homes and an RV park in the area, but residents were asked to leave because of heavy smoke and in case a spot fire was ignited, Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi said.

The blaze burned an outbuilding and about 50 acres of surrounding wild vegetation. One firefighter suffered a minor injury. The fire was 80 percent contained Monday and full containment was expected Wednesday.

The National Weather Service said a cooling trend was beginning as high pressure moved east and a low-pressure system sagged slowly down the coast. Cloudy and unseasonably cool weather with a chance of showers and mountain snow showers was expected by Wednesday, forecasters said.

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