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Favorable Wind Helps In Fight Against SoCal Wildfire

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A damaged helicopter sits as a large wildfire burns to the southwest of Tehachapi, Calif. on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2011. A single-engine Cessna 210 went down in Blackburn Canyon near the small community of Tehachapi, sparking a raging brush fire that sent up a huge plume of smoke visible for miles around, according to Kern County fire department spokesman Cary Wright. (AP Photo/Dave Mills)

A damaged helicopter sits as a large wildfire burns to the southwest of Tehachapi, Calif. on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2011. A single-engine Cessna 210 went down in Blackburn Canyon near the small community of Tehachapi, sparking a raging brush fire that sent up a huge plume of smoke visible for miles around, according to Kern County fire department spokesman Cary Wright. (AP Photo/Dave Mills)

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TEHACHAPI (AP) — Winds directed a 20-square-mile fire toward already charred land in California, authorities said Tuesday, but the blaze remained a threat to 650 homes and 200 homes were under evacuation orders.

The fire, which has blackened more than 13,000 acres, started Sunday when a single-engine Cessna crashed in a remote area of Kern County, killing two people on board. Since then, 12 homes and 18 outbuildings have been destroyed and two firefighters have been injured.

Gusts on Tuesday moved the fire near the town of Tehachapi away from a rugged, fuel-dense area to the northwest, fire spokesman Ian MacDonald said.

Gov. Jerry Brown has asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency for financial assistance to offset firefighting costs. MacDonald said 1,255 personnel have been deployed to battle flames, which are burning about 90 miles north of Los Angeles.

The Kern County coroner’s office on Tuesday identified the two men aboard the plane as Walter Johnson, 72, of Pomona, and John Nuckolls, 55, of Claremont.

In neighboring Los Angeles County, a blaze that started Monday had charred more than 500 acres in Aqua Dulce, near Newhall. It was 80 percent contained Tuesday.

It started in a trailer and barn, but no other structures were lost, county fire Inspector Quvondo Johnson said. One firefighter suffered heat exhaustion and a civilian sustained a minor injury, Johnson said.

In Los Angeles, a 40-acre fire near Interstate 405 at the Sepulveda Pass also was 80 percent contained, Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Matt Spence said.

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