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Some evacuees going home as crews continue battling wildfire near L.A.

Some residents living near a 4,180-acre wildfire burning in Angeles National Forest will be allowed to return to their homes after evacuation orders were lifted
Some people living near a 4,180-acre wildfire burning in the Angeles National Forest will be allowed to return to their homes Thursday morning after evacuation orders were lifted Wednesday night.

Aided by the remnants of Tropical Storm John -- which brought scattered rain, higher humidity and slightly cooler temperatures to much of Southern California on Wednesday -- crews were able to make progress on the so-called Williams fire burning above Glendora, doubling containment to about 48%, the U.S. Forest Service said.

Flames were stoked by medium-to-heavy brush that had not burned in nearly two decades. Crews also had difficulty building containment lines because of the area's steep, rugged terrain.

Residents from a mobile home park 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 roadblock 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 of the forest who were evacuated are instructed to meet authorities Saturday at 9 a.m. at El Encanto Restaurant, 100 N. Old San Gabriel Canyon Road. Once they show photo identification, they will be escorted 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 Highway 39. 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.

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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-- Robert J. Lopez

Photo: Matt Hidalgo kicks up ash as he struggles to bring a fire hose up a steep slope along Shoemaker Canyon Road in the Angeles National Forest on Wednesday. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

 
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