A smattering of rain and easing temperatures helped more than 1,000 firefighters battling the largest wildfire in Los Angeles history gain the upper hand on the blaze on Sunday, but officials warned that danger remains.
“We’ve turned the corner, but this is not over,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told reporters. “With winds this strong, anything can happen.” Shifting winds could cause burning embers to spread the fire once more through the rugged northern edge of Los Angeles, said Garcetti.
The nearly 2,400-hectare La Tuna Fire, named after the canyon area where it erupted on Friday, has destroyed three homes and damaged one. More than 700 homes were evacuated as the blaze tore through thick brush that has not burned in decades.
Of the 1,400 people evacuated from their homes, 90 per cent had returned by Sunday afternoon and Garcetti said nearly all would be back before the day was over.
The wildfire is the largest in terms of acreage in the city’s history, Garcetti said. It was considered 30 per cent contained by late Sunday night, up from 10 per cent on Sunday morning.
“We do not have this fire contained,” Garcetti said, “but we do have a good sense of, in the next day or two, how we can bring this fire to rest.”
Wildfires forced thousands to flee their homes across the US West during a sweltering, smoke-shrouded holiday weekend of record heat.
The fires on Sunday caused evacuations in Glacier National Park in Montana and many other parts of the West; compelled crews to rescue about 140 hikers who had spent the night in the woods after fire broke out along the popular Columbia River Gorge Trail in Oregon; and led firefighters to step up efforts to protect a 2,700-year-old grove of giant sequoia encroached by flames near Yosemite National Park in California.—Agencies