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Brush fire near 5 Freeway in Santa Clarita mostly contained

Firefighters have a 415-acre brush fire in Santa Clarita that forced 1,000 people to flee their homes almost completely contained, officials said Thursday.

The Calgrove fire, near the 5 Freeway, was 95% contained, Los Angeles County fire officials said. Two fire teams were expected to work throughout the night to fully surround the blaze.

Working in 90-degree temperatures, crews dug out a line around the fire to stop it from further spreading, fire specialist Randall Wright said.

“It’s back-breaking work,” he said.

The blaze had exploded from three acres to about 350 in just a few hours late Wednesday, driven by hot wind gusts and fueled by light vegetation bone-dry from years of drought. For a short time that day, 1,000 residents near Calgrove Boulevard were told to evacuate their homes before ultimately being allowed to return in the evening.

The fire only slowed when it hit thicker, heavier fuel, fire inspector David Dantic said.

Crews across Southern California, including in the San Bernardino National Forest, battled flames in hot temperatures and with wind gusts up to 20 mph, said National Weather Service senior forecaster Andrew Rorke.

A marine layer is expected to bring cooler, moist air across the region over the weekend, Rorke added. There could be thunderstorms, he said, but it’s also possible that there could be dry lightning strikes that could spark new fires.

“It looks pretty juicy, but Sunday, Monday are on the edge” for rain, Rorke said. The greatest chance for lightning without much rain is on Sunday, he said.

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