California firefighters gain ground on wildfires

A helicopter drops water on the grounds surrounding one of the luxury homes of the Fairbanks Ranch area where a wild fire threaten homes Tuesday in San Diego. Wildfires pushed by gusty winds chewed through canyons parched by California's drought, prompting evacuation orders for more than 20,000 homes on the outskirts of San Diego and another 1,200 homes and businesses in Santa Barbara County 250 miles to the north.

SAN DIEGO - Firefighters have gained ground on a pair of California wildfires thanks to calm winds overnight but they are concerned about hot and gusty conditions forecast for the afternoon.

San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Lee Swanson said Wednesday a fire burning on the outskirts of San Diego is 25 percent contained and has scorched 1,550 acres.

Firefighters hope to have the blaze near upscale housing developments 50 percent contained by day's end but they face hot, dry and gusty conditions.

Calmer winds also aided firefighters in Santa Barbara County where a 700-acre wildfire is 5 percent contained.

Evacuation orders for thousands of residents near the San Diego fire were lifted Tuesday night. Evacuation orders have also been lifted for all but a handful of homes and businesses in Santa Barbara County.