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Weather Gives Firefighters in Angeles Forest a Boost

Times Staff Writer

Falling temperatures and rising humidity Tuesday slowed a 4,100-acre brush fire in the Angeles National Forest before it could seriously threaten homes and a wildlife refuge, authorities said.

“Things are going a lot better for us,” said U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Marilyn Hartley. “There’s been an increase in humidity, and it is cooler. There was even fog in our fire camp in the morning.”

Officials said the fire, which is centered in Pacoima Canyon, grew by only about 100 acres Monday night, a period when most firefighting efforts, particularly aerial bombarding of the fire with water and fire retardant, were halted by darkness.

An additional 800 acres were consumed Tuesday during a controlled burn to create a fire break in the Kagel Canyon area, the U.S. Forest Service said. The number of firefighters at the scene increased by about 250 to 1,100 early Tuesday.

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Forest Service officials said the fire was 90% contained by late Tuesday and complete containment was expected by 6 p.m. today. Total fire damage was estimated at $1,470,000, with most of the cost going to pay for fighting the blaze, officials said.

“The threat has been lessened because of the weather, but that could change pretty quickly,” Forest Service spokesman Robert Brady said. “We could get a Santa Ana wind condition in here. In Southern California, you don’t count your chickens. . . .”

In Pacoima Canyon, the fire line continued to move slowly down the steep slopes toward a neighborhood northeast of Sylmar. But authorities said that the homes in the area were not immediately threatened and that fire breaks and other measures had been taken to safeguard them. Los Angeles city firefighters and trucks were stationed in the neighborhoods as a precaution.

A portion of the fire came within about a mile of the 160-acre Wildlife Waystation in Little Tujunga Canyon on Monday night. But the fire slowed and firefighters, working in darkness, plowed a fire break between the blaze and the 1,000-animal compound.

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