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Madre Fire: Evacuations lifted, firefight continues

September 24, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Evacuations have been lifted, but firefighters are still battling a brush fire burning in the Angeles National Forest near Azusa.

As of 4 p.m., the blaze, dubbed the Madre Fire, has burned 250 acres and was 70 percent contained.

Three homes on Foxtail Court were evacuated Monday night, but those evacuations have since been lifted, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Fire officials said there was no immediate threat to residences and structure protection was established around 25 other homes out of precaution.

The fire is moving northwest over a ridge away from those homes and further into the forest. Those residences should be out of harm's way, unless the winds shift during the day.

"The wind is a concern today. The relative humidity, if it's low, we're looking at 19 percent, that's going to hamper some of our firefighting efforts as well. As long as we get not too many winds, this fire might slow down, but it's our boots on the ground that are going to stop this fire," said Nathan Judy, a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service.

The blaze broke out around 6 p.m. Monday near San Gabriel Canyon Road and Sierra Madre Avenue. Los Angeles firefighters called in their water-dropping super-scoopers and helicopters to battle the flames.

"It was crazy, there was smoke everywhere. I was scared at first and then it started to go over the ridge and went away and I was like, 'Oh, we're in the clear.' Now the wind is shifting, so I don't know what's going to happen," said Sarah Brehm, an Azusa resident.

Another resident, who is originally from Boston, said he's not used to seeing wildfires and the whole scene caught him off guard.

"I couldn't tell you the feelings that were going through my head. I've never seen anything like this," said Shawn Miltimore. "Being from Massachusetts, we see a car fire and that's a big thing. When I come home and I see the whole canyon on fire, I was freaking out."

Azusa Canyon and Highway 39 north of Foothill Boulevard were closed to all traffic but all roads have since reopened. However, fire officials advised people to stay away from the area.

So far, no homes have been damaged. Two firefighters have been hurt. One suffered a lower leg injury when a rock hit him and the other suffered a minor eye injury.

More than 400 fire personnel are on duty Tuesday battling the blaze. Full containment is expected by Friday.


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