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Cajon Pass fire expected to be contained Monday

September 4, 2011 |  3:06 pm

A fire crew works on the Rancho Amistad Saturday.

A 1,200-acre brush fire that has burned for two days in the Cajon Pass, destroying several structures and forcing 1,500 residents to evacuate, was expected to be fully contained Monday, officials said.

The fire broke out Friday about 12:45 p.m. in the Oak Hills area west of Highway 15 and quickly spread south into the area’s dry vegetation, San Bernardino County Fire spokeswoman Tracey Martinez said.

Photos: Fire in Cajon Pass

On Saturday, 900 firefighters deployed to the scene and were able to save hundreds of homes. The cause of the fire was unknown.

Two homes and several sheds and storage containers were destroyed, while two other homes were damaged, according to Bob Poole of the U.S. Forest Service. One firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion, Poole said.

Portions of Highway 15 were closed, and traffic was snarled due to the holiday weekend and travelers making their way through the Cajon Pass, the gateway to Las Vegas and the Colorado River.

By Sunday morning, firefighters had the blaze 80% contained, and all mandatory evacuations had been lifted. North and southbound lanes were open on Highway 15, but officials warned that some lanes may be closed. Officials expected the fire to be contained by Sunday at 6 p.m.

Air quality officials issued a smoke advisory Sunday for the San Bernardino and San Gabriel mountain areas, cautioning residents to exercise caution and avoid unnecessary outdoor activities in any area directly impacted by the smoke.

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-- Teresa Watanabe and Corina Knoll

Photo: A fire crew works on the Rancho Amistad on Saturday. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

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