Photo via OnScene.TV
Photo via OnScene.TV

The containment of the San Gabriel Complex Fire, which has charred 5,381 acres since it broke out more than a week ago, remained at 72 percent Tuesday.

As of Tuesday morning, 556 firefighters were battling the blaze, down from 859 Sunday, fire officials said, adding that firefighters have been transported by helicopter to remote sites to continue fire suppression in areas difficult to access.

Firefighting personnel from both the Los Angeles County and the U.S. Forest Service have been working to extinguish the flames. Heat remains an issue for the firefighters on the scene amid the region’s continuing heat wave, forest officials said.

Crews have begun repairing damages caused by firelines from the blaze, looking to minimize soil erosion and other side effects that stemmed out of fire suppression efforts, forest officials said. Firefighters are also removing special equipment imported to suppress the flames.

Highway 39 remained shut down at old San Gabriel Road, forest authorities said, as fire and falling debris remain ongoing issues in the area.

All residents in the foothills above Azusa and Duarte who were evacuated have been allowed to return home, and roads are no longer restricted to just residents, according to the Sierra Madre Police Department. At its height, the fire triggered the evacuation of 1,376 residences. The American Red Cross evacuation center has been closed.

The Reservoir Fire broke out shortly after 11 a.m. June 20 off Highway 39 near the Morris Reservoir dam north of Azusa, according to Sherry Rollman of the U.S. Forest Service. It was sparked by a vehicle running off Highway 39 near the reservoir, California Highway Patrol Officer Alex Rubio said. One person died in that 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.

The two fires were designated as the San Gabriel Complex Fire, even though they never merged.

By early today, the Reservoir Fire had consumed 1,146 acres with 71 percent containment, while the Fish Fire had scorched 4,235 acres and was 72 percent contained, forest officials said.

With the Fourth of July holiday coming up, forest officials stressed to the public that fireworks are illegal every day in every forest and campsite. Drones are also restricted from the area, authorities said.

—City News Service

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