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Arcadia Wildfire Is Contained, Officials Say

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A stubborn wildfire that scorched 750 acres of Angeles National Forest and threatened homes north of Arcadia was completely contained by Thursday night, a U.S. Forest Service official said.

Fire crews will be working through the weekend to mop up the area and to guard against new outbreaks, said the Forest Service’s Randi Jorgensen.

By 6 a.m. Thursday, the blaze which at its height had forced the evacuation of 260 homes in the San Gabriel Mountains, was 95% contained, Jorgensen said.

Five firefighters suffered minor injuries battling the blaze, which began at 2:45 p.m. Monday in the woods north of Arcadia, authorities said. The latest injury involved a firefighter who suffered a strained back.

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The cost of fighting the fire was estimated at $660,000, according to the Forest Service.

By Thursday morning, 516 firefighters were still fighting the fire, which had been photographed with infrared imagery to help them detect hot spots.

Jorgensen said the blaze, which has stripped the hills’ steep terrain of vegetation, left areas above homes at risk for mudslides if heavy rains come. Burn area rehabilitation teams, she said, will be securing the hillside slopes to minimize mudslide risk and damage to wildlife.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but authorities suspect arson or negligence. Fire officials are asking anyone who traveled Monday in the area of the road to Chantry Flats, where the fire is believed to have originated, to contact the Forest Service if they noticed people or vehicles in the vicinity of a microwave tower.

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