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La Tuna blaze is 90% contained, fire officials say

The La Tuna fire that has scorched more than 7,000 acres, destroyed five buildings and forced the evacuation of several communities is 90% contained, fire officials said Thursday.

Erik Scott, a captain with the Los Angeles Fire Department, said firefighters continue to make progress on the blaze and remain on alert for small fires that continue to break out in parts of the canyon. At least two spot fires have broken out over the last two days, with the most recent on Wednesday night in the 1400 block of Sunland Boulevard in the Shadow Hills community.

“The flames came 200 feet from homes,” Scott said, adding that aircraft equipped with infrared technology is flying twice a day to detect potential fire threats..

The number of firefighting personnel continued to drop as a containment line choked the blaze.

The fire broke out Friday afternoon amid a heat wave and shut down miles of the 210 Freeway in the Sunland-Tujunga area for several days as erratic winds spread the blaze in all directions of the Verdugo Mountains.

“There were multiple challenges,” Scott said. “Erratic weather and dry brush that has not burned in 70 years all equaled explosive fire behavior from the La Tuna canyon fire.”

At the peak of the fire, more than 700 residents were evacuated, including from the communities of Burbank, Glendale and the eastern San Fernando Valley.

All road closures and evacuations since have been canceled. The cause of the fire remains unknown, but officials say there is no evidence of arson.

The governor declared a state of emergency for Los Angeles County on Sunday at the urging of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, who said the announcement would ensure that state and federal assistance was provided as quickly as possible.

Garcetti has described the fire as the biggest in the history of the city in terms of sheer acreage, but that has come under dispute by the media.

ruben.vives@latimes.com

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