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Forest fire near Los Angeles 25% contained as crews make progress

September 4, 2012 |  5:52 pm

Williams fire
A large wildfire burning in the Angeles National Forest was about 25% contained Tuesday afternoon as firefighters continued making progress in their efforts to cut containment lines around the blaze.

The blaze, dubbed the Williams fire, had scorched about 3,800 acres in rugged terrain in the mountains above Glendora after breaking out Sunday afternoon.

Fire officials said Tuesday afternoon that flames were no longer threatening mobile homes at Camp Williams, where about 25 people had chosen to stay after authorities issued mandatory evacuation orders after the blaze erupted and began spreading quickly.

PHOTOS: Crews battle brush fire in Angeles National Forest

"It's looking really good right now," said Nathan Judy, spokesman for the Angeles National Forest.

Nearly 800 firefighters were working to douse flames and cut containment lines around the blaze, which was fed by medium-to-heavy brush that hadn't burned in nearly two decades. They were being aided by four air tankers and 10 helicopters that were making repeated water and fire-retardant drops in the steep canyons where the flames were burning.

Judy told The Times that crews were hoping to make continued progress. "We're looking at getting more lines cut," he said.

MAP: Williams fire perimeter

The blaze started about three miles east of California 39 between Camp Williams Resort and Burro Canyon Shooting Park in the San Gabriel Mountains, north of Glendora. The cause 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 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 San Gabriel Canyon. The man had hiked into the area Saturday and spent the night, Judy said.

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— Robert J. Lopez

twitter.com/LAJourno

Photo: U.S. Forest Service firefighter keeps an eye on Sunday on flames burning near a ridge. Credit: David McNew/Getty Images
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