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Progress made against Southern Calif. wildfires

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POSTED September 26, 2013 10:00 p.m.

SAN BERNARDINO  (AP) — Hundreds of firefighters are drawing closer to surrounding a pair of blazes that torched several hundred acres of Southern California brushland and briefly threatened dozens of homes earlier this week.

With both fires more than three-quarters contained, firefighters were hoping to douse them quickly before strong, gusty winds were expected to kick up Thursday.

A 200-acre fire in the Cajon Pass east of Los Angeles was 80 percent contained and was expected to be fully surrounded by Thursday evening, said Carol Underhill, fire information spokeswoman for the San Bernardino Mountains.

"Everything is looking pretty good here," Underhill said. "But they are still dealing with a lot of wind in the afternoons so they want to get this thing buttoned up as quickly as they can."

The fire has not grown since it erupted Tuesday in the Sycamore Flats area at the base of the pass near Interstate 15.

About 30 rural homes were evacuated at the height of the blaze but residents were allowed to return late that night.

About 100 firefighters were still working the fire, aware that the National Weather Service forecast winds of 25 mph to 35 mph, with gusts up to 65 mph in places, for Thursday.

Closer to Los Angeles, a 268-acre blaze near the foothill community of Azusa was 90 percent contained, with full containment expected Friday.

The fire in the San Gabriel Mountains was reduced to hotspots and no homes were threatened, fire spokesman Nathan Judy said.

Drizzle was reported early Thursday in the region and temperatures dropped significantly.

"We didn't get the erratic winds that make ... the fire pick up," he said.

Hundreds of firefighters fought both blazes at their peak, aided by Super Scoopers and other water-dropping aircraft.

Three firefighters suffered minor injuries battling the San Gabriel Mountains blaze.

The causes of both fires remained under investigation.


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