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California Wildfire in Angeles National Forest Forces Evacuations

By Sean Breslin
Published: August 19, 2014

Campers and hikers in California's Angeles National Forest were forced to evacuate Sunday due to a brush fire that swept through San Gabriel Canyon and has torched at least 275 acres of land so far.

Some 200 firefighters are battling the Tecolote fire as it burns in southern California, but crews say the blaze is moving away from homes, and as of Sunday night, no residences are threatened.

Officials say the fire is 40 percent contained. Still, firefighters told CBS Los Angeles they had the upper hand on the wildfire, and that number isn't a true reflection of the control they have on the situation.

"While afternoon and evening wind gusts from 20 to 40 mph will make containing the blaze difficult, general onshore winds in southern California means the fire is not being blown toward populated areas," said weather.com senior meteorologist Jon Erdman. "However, we can't rule out an isolated thunderstorm each afternoon and evening starting Tuesday, producing little rainfall, with more lightning-triggered fires possible."

(MORE: Beware – This Is on the Rise)

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports that the fire spread rapidly after it began at 2:25 p.m. Sunday. It was initially at 10 acres, then 20 acres, before quickly spreading up mountainside in 10 minutes to 100 acres.

Highway 39 was closed by firefighters in an area north of the East Fork Road as a result of the inferno, allowing emergency vehicles to get into the area, CBS L.A. added.

Firefighters are battling the blaze in hot, dry weather. U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman L'Tanga Watson said they are hampered by steep, rugged terrain.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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