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Fire evacuation over in south, possible in north as blaze grows in Colusa County

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POSTED September 6, 2012 8:49 p.m.

WILLIAMS  (AP) — Firefighters in Northern California battled to save nearly two dozen homes being threatened by a pair of fires, while dozens of evacuees who fled a fire in Southern California four days ago were allowed to go home.

The Colusa County fires — referred to as the Sixteen Complex — had grown to more than 11 square miles by Thursday.

The Sixteen Complex fire was 10 percent contained Thursday and there was an evacuation advisory posted for the Cortina Rancheria area.

Strong winds hampered firefighting efforts and dry lightning strikes from a thunderstorm system started a number of small fires in eastern Sacramento foothills, said Daniel Berlant, spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Dozens of fires were started in Amador, El Dorado and Calaveras counties, he said, but most were contained after burning just a few acres.

In the San Gabriel Mountains in northeastern Los Angeles County, north of Glendora, a 4,180-acre fire was 44 percent contained Thursday, mostly because of showers Wednesday from a wilting Tropical Storm John.

Between 50 and 100 evacuees were allowed to return to Camp Williams, a rustic community that consists of a mobile home park and a country store, said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Robert Brady. About 25 residents refused to evacuate when the fire started Sunday.

A trace of rain Wednesday didn't put the fire out but Brady says it brought humidity that gave plants a dose of moisture and slowed the fire down.

He says it also cooled 1,100 firefighters on front lines.

It was sunny and warm in the area Thursday, Brady said, but the National Weather Service said there would be a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms late Thursday.

Because the fire is burning in terrain with 30 percent to 80 percent slopes and brush in the area hasn't burned in nearly 20 years, full containment of the blaze wasn't expected until Sept. 13.

 

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