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Firefighters tackle blazes in bone-dry Southern California

Firefighters were tackling blazes from Santa Barbara to San Diego early Monday, as Southern California headed into its first heat wave of the summer.

Temperatures were expected to reach into the triple digits this week in some areas, increasing the fire danger in an already parched region.

Authorities were gaining ground on a 482-acre fire in the Los Padres National Forest northwest of Santa Barbara, which started Saturday evening and was 60 percent contained early Monday, according to a U.S. Forest Service fire information line.

The blaze had closed some campgrounds, but no residents had been ordered to leave their homes.

Meanwhile, a pair of wildfires burned near the town of Julian, about 60 miles east of San Diego. The larger of the two had consumed 110 acres and was 20 percent contained by Sunday night, authorities said. The second blackened about 60 acres.

Both were expected to be contained Monday.

Firefighters in Los Angeles County fought a 50-acre blaze along the Golden State Freeway near Pyramid Lake on Sunday before it was contained in the early evening. The blaze was ignited by an RV that caught fire, officials said.

The fires came as a heat wave hit the area and forecasters reported Southern California had just ended its driest year on record.

In the rainfall year beginning July 1, 2006, only 3.21 inches of rain fell on downtown Los Angeles, the lowest since records began 130 years ago. Normal rainfall is about 15 inches per year.

Forest Service officials were reminding visitors, ahead of the July 4 holiday, that all fireworks are prohibited on national forest land and restrictions on campfires were also in effect.

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