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Whitewater Canyon blaze blamed on windmill  

Firefighters have fully contained a 68-acre wildfire in the Whitewater Canyon area about 1.5 miles north of Interstate 10, according to CAL FIRE.

Fire officials expect to have the blaze under control by 8 a.m. Saturday.

Whitewater Canyon Road has reopened to traffic.

The Alta Mesa fire, reported at 6:19 a.m., is not threatening homes, spokeswoman Jodi Miller said.

“It’s in a pretty remote area,” Miller said.

It was caused by an undetermined problem with a wind turbine, according to CAL FIRE.

The wildfire is isolated to the steep slopes and ridges west of Whitewater Canyon Road.

“It’s light grass; it’s sporadic and patchy,” Capt. Fernando Herrera said. “That’s a good advantage, that there’s not a lot of heavy vegetation.”

Hand crews cut fire lines that had contained most of the fire.

One inmate firefighter was taken to a local hospital for heat related injuries.

While homes seem safe, gusty winds have firefighters, and area residents, cautious.

“We’re dealing with 50 mph gusts on top of the hills, where the fire started,” Herrera said.

“We went up the road and talked to the firefighters and they said we’re in no danger at this itme,” said Anita Sampson, a Cecil Road resident in Whitewater less than a mile south of the fire.

Fellow local resident Angie Brashears said residents would remain wary of the fire all day.

“We have a neighborhood watch program where we all kind of look out for each other and keep each other informed,” she said.

Though portions of the fire were close to a line of wind turbines at the top of a hill, none of the turbines were damaged, Herrera said.

Fifteen engines, four hand crews and four aircraft are battling the blaze.

By Keith Matheny and Michelle Mitchell

The Desert Sun

14 September 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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