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Evacuation order to be lifted in forest fire near Los Angeles

September 5, 2012 |  6:08 pm

Williams fire burns near Los Angeles
A wildfire in the Angeles National Forest was 48% contained Wednesday afternoon as authorities were planning to lift an evacuation order for residents who live in the burn area.

The blaze, dubbed the Williams fire, had scorched about 4,180 acres in steep, rugged terrain above Glendora, but cooler weather and light rain on Wednesday aided firefighters in their efforts to cut containment lines along the fire's perimeter, the U.S. Forest Service said. Flames were stoked by medium-to-heavy brush that had not burned in nearly two decades.

Residents from a mobile home and other areas who were evacuated after the blaze broke out Sunday will be allowed back to their homes on Thursday morning, said Nathan Judy, spokesman for the Angeles National Forest.

Those residents are instructed to meet authorities at 9 a.m. at a law enforcement road block at the mouth of the San Gabriel Canyon, where they will be escorted back to their homes. They will be required to show photo identification, Judy said.

Campers and other recreational users who were evacuated are instructed to meet law enforcement authorities Saturday morning at 9 a.m. at El Encanto Restaurant, 100 N. Old San Gabriel Canyon Road. Once they show photo identification, they will be escorted by authorities to pick up any gear that was left behind.

The San Gabriel Canyon will remain closed to recreation users until further notice, Judy said.

More than 1,200 firefighters were battling the blaze, which erupted Sunday afternoon in the east fork of the San Gabriel Canyon near California 39. In the air, eight air tankers and 10 helicopters were dropping water and fire retardant on the flames.

Officials said the cause of the blaze was under investigation.

The flames were burning across a large area popular with hikers and campers. The blaze forced officials to shut down campgrounds and picnic areas, as well as the San Gabriel Canyon, to thousands of Labor Day weekend visitors.

Four people -- including at least two firefighters -- were injured Monday, but none required hospitalization, the Forest Service said.  A stranded hiker was rescued Sunday by a helicopter that landed near the Bridge to Nowhere, a popular hiking destination in the east fork of the San Gabriel Canyon. The man had hiked into the area Saturday and spent the night, according to fire officials.


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Photo: A U.S. Forest Service firefighter covers his face Tuesday against the heat of advancing flames at the Williams fire. Credit: David McNew / Getty Images