Associated PressA firefighter from Stockton

Associated PressA firefighter from Stockton

Cause of California wildfire appears accidental

Investigators say the cause of a huge wildfire burning through Southern California's coastal mountains appears to be accidental.

Fire spokesman Tom Piranio says Saturday that the 44-square-mile fire at the western end of the Santa Monica Mountains was started by an undetermined ignition of grass and debris on the side of U.S. 101. He says it's possible a piece of metal fell into the tinder-dry bush early Thursday, sparking an uphill fire that was quickly stoked by hot, windy weather.

The fire threatened thousands of homes as it marched to the coast, but only caused damage to just 15 homes.

Cool, moist air that returned to the region late Friday helped firefighters gain control of the blaze. It is 75 percent contained.

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