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Station fire containment delayed indefinitely

September 25, 2009 |  3:25 pm

U.S. Forest Service officials said today that the Station fire is 98% contained but the remainder is burning so deep in the San Gabriel Wilderness that it is inaccessible to firefighters.

"There's just going to be sections that won't be out until it rains," said Stan Bercovitz, a Forest Service spokesman.

The fire has been burning in a dry streambed just south of Twin Peaks Canyon, where the harsh, steep terrain is preventing firefighters from surrounding it completely,

"High temperatures, low humidity and the constant threat of winds, it's not going to be forgotten," Bercovitz said.

All firefighters have been released from the Station fire, but it was unclear if aircraft would continue to make water drops, Bercovitz said, adding that no structures were threatened.

"It's deep in the wilderness," he said. "It's as deep as you're going to get in any wilderness."

The fire broke out Aug. 26, destroying about 160,577 acres. Two firefighters died and 22 others were injured. Authorities are investigating the arson fire as a homicide.

Officials with the U.S. Forest Service and Caltrans will meet next week to discuss reopening parts of the Angeles National Forest. Crews have been working around the clock trying to repair guard rails and make utility repairs, they said. At least two Edison employees suffered minor injuries this morning as they repaired a utility pole.

"The power pole broke and they fell about 30 feet," said Inspector Frederic Stowers of the California Highway Patrol. He said the two men were airlifted to area hospitals.

In Ventura County, firefighters gained ground today on the Guiberson fire, which was 75% contained. At least 17,500 acres burned there and one outbuilding was destroyed, said firefighter Steve Kaufmann of the Ventura County Fire Department. He said nine firefighters have been injured, mostly related to the heat.

"We've had triple-digit temperatures," Kaufmann said.

At least 2,000 firefighters are battling the blaze. Full containment is expected by Saturday night.

--Ruben Vives

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