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California wildfire reaches ocean

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Updated: 5/03/2013 3:39 pm
(NBC News) Southern California firefighters battled back a series of sprawling, brush-fueled wildfires on Friday, including one that had blazed a trail to the beach in Ventura County overnight and was pushing toward the upscale city of Malibu, officials said.

At least six fires of various sizes have flared up as high temperatures, low humidity and brittle brush have left the state a veritable tinderbox over the last two days.

The so-called Springs Fire, made worse by howling Santa Ana winds and unusually dry vegetation, crept within "seven or eight miles" of Malibu around 2 a.m. local time [5 a.m. ET], Ventura County Fire Department spokesman Bill Nash said.

Dry winds from inland to the ocean brought gusts of 40 to 50 miles per hour to the Southern California region on Friday, with the winds expected to drop and temperatures to cool into the high 60s later in the day, according to the Weather Channel. Warnings remained in effect as winds stoked the flames, the National Weather Service reported.

"We're looking good," Battalion Chief Fred Burris of the Ventura County Fire Department said on Friday. "We believe we're past the major structure threat at this time."

-- Stephanie Stanton reports



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