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Steep terrain hampers fight against 400-acre wildfire above Azusa

#TecoloteFire at 400 acres, 5% contained overnight in steep, rugged terrain

A fast-moving 400-acre wildfire in the hills above Azusa was just 5% contained late Sunday and early Monday, but was burning away from homes, fire officials said.

The Tecolote fire in the Angeles National Forest was first reported at about 2:30 p.m. Sunday and quickly grew in size as firefighters struggled to navigate steep, rugged terrain, officials said. Several water-dropping helicopters were called in to assist with the battle against the blaze.

“It’s very steep, and that’s some of the issues that our firefighters are having, is rugged terrain -- them getting up there, and getting up there safely,” U.S. Forest Service spokesman Nathan Judy told KTLA.

The fire was first reported at Mile Marker 24 on Highway 39, which was closed north of the East Fork Road. Residents were only being allowed into the area south of the closure. Though the fire was not threatening any homes, campgrounds and recreation activities in the area have been evacuated, the Forest Service said.

Azusa police said two people were detained in connection with a separate spot fire nearby that broke out at about 6:20 p.m. but was quickly extinguished. No arrests were immediately reported.

The Tecolote fire is in a different fork of the San Gabriel Canyon than the 190-acre Shoemaker fire, which was 90% contained on Sunday. East Fork Road remains closed at Shoemaker Road.

The cause of both fires remain under investigation.

For news as it happens in California, follow @JasonBretWells


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