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Big Bear residents to return home after wildfire forces evacuations

Firefighters continued to battle a brush fire on Monday burning near Snow Summit Ski Resort in the San Bernardino Mountains.

Big Bear residents forced to leave their homes after a wildfire quickly chewed through 100 acres near Snow Summit Ski Resort will be allowed to go home later Monday, officials said.

The Summit fire is 50% contained and is mostly under control after igniting Sunday afternoon, said Carol Underhill of the U.S. Forest Service.

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"There's some challenging terrain in there, so it's slow going," she said. "But we're making lots of progress."

The blaze crawled toward the Big Bear community but hundreds of firefighters quickly began attacking it while water-dropping helicopters and planes carrying flame retardant fought it from the air.

Authorities ordered evacuations that affected some 500 households Sunday evening – an order that is scheduled to be lifted at 2 p.m. Monday, Underhill said. An evacuation center was set up at Big Bear Convention Center and most schools in the area were closed Monday.

Underhill said that crews hope weather on Tuesday will also aid their effort. The National Weather Service predicts the area could see up to half an inch of rain amid thunderstorms and gusty winds.

"We would like the rain. We don't like so much the wind and lightning," Underhill said.

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