Less than a week after the destructive Blue Cut fire broke out in the mountains of San Bernardino County, destroying more than 100 homes, authorities canceled all evacuation orders Sunday and allowed residents to return.
The 37,020-acre blaze had prompted authorities to order more than 82,000 people to evacuate after it ignited Tuesday, but as crews gained the upper hand, evacuation orders were gradually lifted. By Sunday morning, about 2,400 people from Wrightwood, Lone Pine Canyon, Lytle Creek and other communities were still barred from returning home.
The wildfire, which has destroyed more than 300 structures, including 105 homes, was 85% contained as of Sunday evening, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
Up and down drought-ravaged California, half a dozen wildfires continued to burn, challenging firefighters working in rugged terrain and sweltering heat.
The Clayton fire, in idyllic Lake County near Napa, was about 95% contained by Sunday. The suspected arson fire, which started Aug. 13, charred 3,929 acres and destroyed 189 homes.
Continuing to wreak havoc after more than a month was the Soberanes fire in Monterey County, which began July 22 from an illegal campfire in Garrapata State Park and has grown to 85,212 acres.
That blaze, which killed one, injured three and destroyed 57 homes, was 60% contained as of Sunday and continued to prove a challenge for firefighters because of rugged and inaccessible terrain along the fire’s eastern edge. It isn’t expected to be fully contained until late September.
Farther south along the coast, firefighters believed they had stopped the Chimney fire’s encroachment toward Hearst Castle just two miles shy of the landmark. By Sunday, the fast-moving blaze had topped 24,000 acres and destroyed 48 structures. It was 35% contained.
In Santa Barbara, the Rey fire, the newest blaze to plague California, had burned through 18,839 acres since it began three days ago and remained just 10% contained. Firefighters there were also struggling with steep, rough terrain and hot, dry weather, which was expected to keep the blaze “extreme,” sending dramatic plumes of smoke into the air.
Even less contained is the Cedar fire burning in Kern County, which was 5% contained as of Sunday at 17,986 acres. Fire officials called the blaze “moderately active” and said it wasn’t significantly growing. Several communities in Tulare and Kern counties were under mandatory evacuation orders.
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6 p.m.: This article was updated throughout with authorities lifting all evacuation orders for the Blue Cut fire.
This article was originally published at 1:45 p.m.