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Firefighters Gain Control of Southern California Wildfire

By Ben Noll, Meteorologist
August 11, 2013; 4:34 PM ET

A firefighter battles a wildfire on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013, in Cabazon, Calif. About 1,500 people have fled and three are injured as a wildfire in the Southern California mountains quickly spreads. Several small communities have evacuated. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

A wildfire in Southern California's High Desert region continues to burn, but firefighters are making progress containing the blaze.

Located just 4 miles south of Banning or 80 miles east of Los Angeles, the blaze has scorched 19,436 acres and was 75 percent contained as of 8:15 a.m. PDT Sunday, according to CALFIRE.

Firefighters struggled to control the blaze on Thursday; this resulted in five injured firefighters and one injured civilian.

The fire continued to burn actively Friday night, fanned by gusty winds out of the west. The wind has helped the fire and smoke move eastward toward the major Interstate 10, into the Cabazon area, where evacuation orders are in effect. Highway 243 remains closed between Banning and Poppet Flats.

On Friday, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Riverside County.

While it will remain sunny and dry into early this week, winds are not expected to be problematic for crews battling the fire.

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Those living in communities south and west of the blaze should be spared of major impact; however, those to the north and east should be prepared to take action if ordered.

Smoke from the blaze may continue to drift eastward over Palm Springs into early this week.

Story by AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Ben Noll.

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