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Wildfire in Angeles National Forest consumes more than 60 acres

August 25, 2009 |  7:21 pm
Fire crews battled a blaze in rugged terrain in the Angeles National Forest today as officials predicted extreme fire conditions for the next several days in mountain areas across Southern California.

The brush fire broke out about 4:30 p.m. by Morris Dam near Highway 39 above the Azusa and Glendora areas, authorities said. Six aerial tankers and five water-dropping helicopters were trying to halt the flames Tuesday evening on a ridgetop not far from Highway 39, the U.S. Forest Service said.

“That’s the best place to stop a fire – on the ridgetop,” said Forest Service spokesman Robert Brady.

Authorities evacuated campgrounds in the area, but said no injuries were reported. The wildfire, burning in rocky, chaparral-covered terrain, sent smoke billowing across the eastern San Gabriel Valley.
The Forest Service said more than 140 firefighters battled the blaze in 84-degree weather.
Temperatures were forecast to be even higher Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service, which issued a red flag warning for extreme fire conditions in Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

The alert begins at 6 a.m. Wednesday morning and will continue to 9 p.m. Friday. Temperatures in some areas are expected to exceed 100 degrees, and relative humidity will drop below 10%, the Weather Service said.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department said it will add additional personnel to staff brush patrols, fire engines and water tankers in mountain areas such as Santa Clarita and the Antelope Valley.

“We’ll be up and running,” said Fire Inspector Frederic Stowers of the county Fire Department.

Fire officials in Ventura County, meanwhile, will have units fully staffed at firehouses in hillside areas.

“Our people are all locked and loaded,” said Bill Nash, spokesman for the Ventura County Fire Department. “If something breaks out, we’re ready to go.”

-- Robert J. Lopez