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Wet weekend helps wildfire fights
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BIG BEAR LAKE  (AP) — A damp weekend helped firefighters stop the growth of a huge Southern California wildfire, one of many burning around the state.

There had been some fears that thunderstorms Sunday would cause mudslides and other problems for firefighters, but none of them materialized, U.S. Forest Service officials said.

The wildfire in the San Bernardino National Forest has scorched 48 square miles of desert brush and forest timber more than a week after it broke out. It was more than halfway contained Monday.

Authorities reopened a highway, and mandatory evacuations were lifted, but hiking trails and campsites still were closed. Four firefighters were treated for injuries.

The fire, which has cost $30 million so far to fight, destroyed a house and three outbuildings. A team of experts “will continue to evaluate the fire area for further damage,” the Forest Service said in a statement.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

In Northern California, hundreds of weekend lightning strikes sparked three dozen new wildfires, but all stayed small and were extinguished quickly, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Many of the fires torched trees in rugged terrain that is only accessible by foot, the Forest Service said.

Firefighters reported making headway on other fires, including a 500-acre blaze in Madera County that was almost completely surrounded after being sparked by a vehicle.

A fire in Alpine County south of Lake Tahoe was partially contained after burning about 27 square miles since Friday. The lightning-caused blaze was smoldering, mostly in the wilderness.