More than 900 firefighters continued their efforts to extinguish the 5,285-acre San Gabriel Complex Fire that was 48 percent contained as Sunday dawned.
The force was down to 917 firefighters, with 54 engines, 24 hand crews, 11 water tenders, 5 bulldozers, 15 helicopters and fixed wing aircraft, the U.S. Forest Service said last Saturday night.
Firefighters planned to take advantage of lower wind and higher humidity at night to secure existing lines and the low light of night helps them identify potential hot spots, according to the Forest Service.
All residents in the foothills above Azusa and Duarte who were evacuated were allowed to return home, and roads are no longer restricted to just residents, according to the Sierra Madre Police Department.
Sierra Madre Police also announced Saturday that the Chantry Flats Recreational Area had been re-opened, a day after it was closed due to fire danger.
“Conditions have improved in the area of the San Gabriel Complex Fires, which has allowed for the opening of the popular weekend recreational area,” according to a statement from the department. “As a reminder, the gates open at 6 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. daily. There is still a red flag warning in the area, so we ask that you be diligent in following all the safety rules while visiting the forest area.”
Highway 39 will remained closed, according to the California Highway Patrol. It was not immediately known when the highway will be re-opened.
The fires previously were called the Fish and Reservoir fires before authorities decided on the San Gabriel Complex Fire designation even though the blazes, burning about 1.5 miles apart, have not merged.
Firefighting personnel from both the Los Angeles County and the U.S. Forest Service have been working to extinguish the flames.
The Reservoir Fire broke out shortly after 11 a.m. Monday off Highway 39 near the Morris Reservoir dam north of Azusa, according to Sherry Rollman of the U.S. Forest Service.
The fire was sparked by a vehicle running off Highway 39 near the reservoir where the fire broke out, California Highway Patrol Officer Alex Rubio said. One person died in that vehicle crash.
About 90 minutes after the Reservoir Fire began, a second blaze was reported near Opal Canyon and Brookridge roads near the Duarte/Azusa border, about four miles southwest of the Reservoir Fire. That blaze, dubbed the Fish Fire, quickly roared into the foothills.
— City News Service