Grass Fire Growing Near Avocado Lake

May 20, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
High winds are hampering fire crews' efforts to battle a 400-acre grass fire blazing in rural Fresno County that is drawing near to more than a dozen homes. A spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says about 100 firefighters are dropping retardant, cutting lines and running bulldozers to contain the fire burning in the foothills east of the community of Piedra.

Local residents have not been given a mandatory evacuation order but officials say many have left on their own.

Twenty-mile-an-hour winds are driving the fire east toward a heavily sloped area, and crews have been dispatched to protect another 15 homes about a mile ahead of the main fire.