IMAGE: California wildfires
David Mcnew  /  Getty Images
Two firefighters set a backfire Friday in Ventura, Calif.
updated 11/21/2005 10:39:05 AM ET 2005-11-21T15:39:05

A nearly 4,000-acre wildfire that blackened hillsides above expensive oceanfront homes was nearly surrounded Monday despite a weekend resurgence of fierce, dry Santa Ana winds.

The blaze was 90 percent contained and no homes were threatened.

“The winds were our main concern,” said Joe Luna, a spokesman for the Ventura County Fire Department. “But now that we improved our containment lines, the winds won’t be much of a threat.”

Gusts of nearly 50 mph at times Sunday followed a day of cooler ocean breezes that helped fire crews gain the upper hand.

The blaze began Friday, but firefighters expected to have it fully contained by Tuesday evening, county fire spokesman Joe Luna said.

Friday morning, a wall of flames as high as 30 feet snaked along hillsides, and by early afternoon a huge plume of whiskey-brown smoke carried ash over the Pacific Ocean. In just a few hours, the wind-driven fire tripled in size, threatening 200 homes.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation.

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