San Gabriel Complex Fire: 534 Duarte residents allowed to return home staff KABC logo
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Good progress on San Gabriel Complex Fire; 534 Duarte residents allowed to return home
Fire officials announced Wednesday that crews are making good progress on the San Gabriel Complex Fire, which has burned nearly 5,000 acres in the Angeles National Forest.

AZUSA, Calif. (KABC) -- Fire officials said Wednesday that crews are making good progress on the San Gabriel Complex Fire, which has burned nearly 5,000 acres in the Angeles National Forest.

Containment stands at about 15 percent as of Wednesday night, officials said. The pair of fires, dubbed the Fish Fire and Reservoir Fire when they first broke out Monday, have not merged, although they are only a mile and a half apart. About 1,400 fire personnel were on scene fighting the flames.

Acreage estimates on Tuesday showed the two fires burned a combined total of 5,400 acres, but by Wednesday morning, the amount was revised down to 4,900.

Due to triple-digit heat and winds, the fires swelled within a few hours of erupting, prompting mandatory evacuations for 770 households in Duarte. Fire officials said residents in about 534 households living north of Royal Oaks Drive, east of Greenbank Avenue and west of Encanto Parkway would be allowed to return home Wednesday afternoon.

Authorities are still concerned about the west flank of one of the fires because it's close to the northeastern portion of Monrovia and Bradbury. So far, authorities have not evacuated either community but encourage residents to be vigilant and prepared should any changes in the fire happen. Canyon Park, Trask Boy Scout Camp and Hillside Wilderness Preserve were closed in the city.

Overnight Wednesday, two helicopters made water drops to quell the flames. The method appeared to work as flames moved away from homes.

Weather conditions are also expected to be cooler, with at least 30 percent humidity that will give firefighters more control over the fires. But stronger winds around 20 to 25 mph are expected in the afternoon, which could cause one of the fires to travel farther west, officials said during a mid-morning press conference.

The cause of both blazes is under investigation.

Evacuations ordered in Azusa and Duarte

Azusa police ordered evacuations for Mountain Cove, Rainbow Canyon Ranch and El Encanto. An evacuation center was set up at Duarte Community Center, 1600 Huntington Dr., and at Memorial Park, 320 N. Orange Ave.

For the city of Duarte, an evacuation order was issued for homes north of Fish Canyon between Encanto Parkway and Greenbank Avenue, Brookridge Road and Opal Canyon Road.

Mandatory evacuations were also extended for areas north of Markwood Street between Westvale Road and Greenbank Avenue, areas north of Deerlane Drive between Greenbank Avenue and Mountain Crest Road. Residents in the Mount Olive Drive area just northwest of Conata Street, including residents in the Spinks Canyon Road, Rim Road, Goldenmeadow Drive, High Mesa Drive, and Tall Pink Drive areas were also mandated to evacuate the area.

Large animals can be taken to the Hansen Dam Equestrian Center at 11127 Orcas Ave. in Sylmar, and small pets can be taken to Wonder Dog Ranch at 220 Taylor St. in Monrovia. Fire officials also asked Duarte residents who were allowed to go back home to keep their large animals at the Pomona Fairplex, which is another place people could bring their animals.

Though there were no mandatory evacuations in effect for Monrovia, officials urged residents east of Myrtle Avenue and north of Greystone Avenue to prepare for possible evacuations if winds change direction or increase in intensity.

About 600 residents in the Duarte area have been affected by the blaze, and 770 homes were evacuated north of Royal Oaks Drive, west of Encanto Parkway and east of Mt. Olive Drive.

Smoke advisory issued

Smoke from the forest fires was seen by residents across the Southland, including West Covina, Alhambra and Brea.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued smoke advisories Monday and late Wednesday morning due to the fires. AQMD officials said air quality could reach unhealthy levels in areas impacted by smoke, including the San Gabriel Valley, Santa Clarita Valley, the Pomona/Walnut Valley, the San Gabriel Mountains and metropolitan Riverside.

The public was urged to exercise caution and avoid unnecessary outdoor activities in any area directly impacted by smoke.

Road closures caused by Fish Fire

The Fish Fire has prompted road closures for the following streets:

  • Mount Olive Drive at Royal Oaks Drive
  • Vineyard Avenue at Markwood Street
  • Woodbluff Street from Sunnydale Drive
  • Greenbank Avenue from Deerlane Drive
  • Conata Street at Bettyhill Avenue
  • Mel Canyon Road at Opal Canyon Road
  • Mountain Crest Road at Fish Canyon Road
  • Encanto parkway at Markwood Street
  • Mount Olive Drive at Woodlyn Lane
  • Mount Olive Drive at Elda Street