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Sierra Madre residents returning home

April 29, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Sierra fire burning in the foothills north of Sierra Madre since Saturday was 81 percent contained Tuesday, and all but one evacuation order was lifted, authorities said. "Today it was great progress," said Stephanie Vela, a fire information officer with the U.S. Forest Service.

Click here for a slideshow of the Sierra Madre fire, or roll your mouse over the Eyewitness News Story Window above to watch the accompanying video to this story. At the wildfire's height, about 1,000 people were evacuated from homes. About 300 people remained evacuated until about noon Tuesday, Vela said. All were allowed to return home today except those living in the Chantry Flats area.

Fire officials expect to contain the roughly 580-acre blaze on national forest land sometime Friday, Vela said. Approximately 336 acres are within the Sierra Madre city limits, according to Vela.

Firefighters isolated the point of origin in Santa Anita Canyon, but have not said how the fire started.

Highs in the 70s and increased humidity today came as welcome respite for firefighters who been working amid temperatures in the 90s over the past three days. A marine layer forecast to come ashore tonight could further aid the firefighting effort.

With offshore winds still blowing early Monday, fiery debris threatened some homes along the western edge of the fire. Though no homes were lost, some were "nearly scorched," said Robert Brady of the U.S. Forest Service. No homes were damaged Tuesday.

The fire started along a popular trail in Santa Anita Canyon about 3 p.m. Saturday. About 400 homes were evacuated at one point. Some of the brush hadn't burned in about 30 years, according to the Forest Service.

A few homes in Pasadena were evacuated overnight, but those residents were allowed back into their residences about noon as well, said Ann Erdman, Pasadena's public information officer. Road blocks were scheduled to be removed by 6 a.m. Wednesday, according to the Sierra Madre Web site.

About 1,500 firefighters from city, county, state and federal agencies were battling the blaze. Four have been treated for heat fatigue and other injuries considered minor. One outbuilding was damaged.

No more injuries were reported Tuesday.

Fire officials moved the command post from Sierra Madre to the Santa Fe Dam area in Irwindale Tuesday.

Both Sierra Madre public schools reopened Tuesday, but all Sierra Madre private schools and the Sierra Madre Community Nursery School remained closed.

A temporary shelter remains opened at Hart Park House, a senior citizen center at 222 W. Sierra Madre Blvd.

Schools that will be closed include:

  • Alverno High School
  • The Gooden School
  • Bethany Christian School
  • St. Rita Elementary
  • Sierra Madre Community Nursery School

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

 

Click here for more headlines from ABC7 Eyewitness News

Eyewitness News Reporters John Gregory and Micah Ohlman contributed to this report.

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