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Colby fire: Calmer winds expected Friday as crews make progress

FiresColby FireNational Weather Service

Firefighters battling the Colby fire in the hills above Glendora and Azusa should benefit from calmer winds Friday as they work to increase containment around the blaze that so far has destroyed five homes and several other structures.

The fire, which officials said was sparked by an illegal campfire, was 30% contained as of Thursday night after having scorched 1,709 acres. More than 700 firefighters from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the U.S. Forest Service and other agencies were battling the blaze.

The fire, which broke out along Glendora Mountain Road by the Colby truck trail, was initially fueled by strong Santa Ana winds that helped push it toward neighborhoods, forcing evacuations.

PHOTOS: Colby fire rages near Glendora

But as the winds died down Thursday evening, firefighters announced that "the forward spread of the fire has stopped." Thousands of people who were within the evacuation area were allowed to return home by nightfall. 

Meteorologist Curt Kaplan of the National Weather Service in Oxnard said Friday that the winds "will pick up a little bit this morning, but not nearly as much as they have."

"In the San Gabriel Valley, unless you're in the higher peaks, it wasn't too bad," he said. "By the afternoon, it will settle down."

Still, the high temperature in the fire area may go above 80 degrees on Friday, and humidity will likely be between 6% and 10%, he added.

County fire officials said command staff overseeing the fight against fire were scheduled to hold a briefing Friday morning to assess the damage and provide new containment numbers.

On Thursday, three men were arrested in connection with starting the fire. The men, all in their early 20s, were in the area where the Colby trail meets Glendora Mountain Road when they started a campfire, Glendora Police Chief Tim Staab said.

He said the area was not a designated camping spot and that the men tossed paper onto the fire and a gust of wind "just blew embers all over the place."

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