4 Injured As Crews Battle 3,600-Acre Brush Fire In Angeles National Forest
ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST (CBSLA.com) —Crews are battling a brush fire Monday that has burned 3,600 acres in the Angeles National Forest.
At least 500 firefighters, six helicopters and one tanker are fighting the blaze, which is five percent contained.
The blaze, which reportedly started around 2:15 p.m. Sunday, has injured two park rangers and two camp inmates. It was initially reported at 4,000 acres but officials used GPS data to reach a more accurate assessment that 3,600 acres were affected.
Firefighters called off their search Monday night for three hikers who were reported stranded in the San Gabriel Canyon, according to a fire department official. A search and rescue helicopter scanned the area and was called back shortly after 2:30 p.m.
There were no immediate threats to structures, but as a precautionary measure, officials called for evacuations at Williams Restaurant, private camps, an inmate rehabilitation camp and a Ranger Station.
“Oh, I couldn’t even sleep last night. I was up at four o’clock in the morning checking the fire, seeing how it was going. Everything was a glow,” one woman said outside of her mobile home. “It’s coming down a little faster now.”
Some residents at Camp Williams Mobile Home Park decided against leaving.
“I’m going to stick it out until the boss says it’s time. But, when it’s time it’s time. I don’t want this place to burn up…this is my home,” another woman said, while crying.
It is unknown what caused the fire, but crews believe it broke out between Camp Williams and the shooting range along East Fork Road in San Gabriel Canyon. The area is located just north of Azusa.
“The drought conditions didn’t help. We haven’t gotten a lot of rain this last winter and everything is really dry out here,” said Nathan Juda of the U.S. Forest Service. “What happens is folks come out here with charcoal barbeques, then go over to the side of the road next to the stream and they have their charcoal barbeque. They haven’t cleared any brush around there. So if those barbeques fall over, a good wind picks up – that could start a fire.”
U.S. Forest Service said the fire is moving north to northeast towards the Sheep Mountain Wilderness area.