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Crews fight wildfire near LA as temperatures rise

7:59 PM, Jun 1, 2013   |    comments
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SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (AP) - Triple-digit temperatures and erratic winds worked against firefighters beating back a wildfire in the mountains north of Los Angeles on Saturday, fire officials said.

The fire raged through more than five square miles of thick, dry brush on rugged terrain in the Angeles National Forest, said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Ronald Ashdale. It was fueled by winds that have changed directions several times throughout the day.

"The fire has been very active today. It's put out a lot of smoke," he said.

A huge plume of smoke could be seen from much of various parts of northern Los Angeles County, and air-quality officials warned against strenuous outdoor activity.

Cooler temperatures overnight didn't give firefighters much of a break, as the fire continued to burn through steep terrain that has been inaccessible to firefighters on the ground.

Officials said it temperatures topped at 105 degrees in the area of the fire on Saturday afternoon, where nearly 1,000 firefighters used hoes, shovels and bulldozers to scrape away brush in the mountains near Castaic Lake.

The blaze broke out Thursday just north of Powerhouse No. 1, a hydroelectric plant near the Los Angeles Aqueduct. It is 15 percent contained.

Flames forced about 200 evacuations in the community of Green Valley before mandatory orders were lifted Friday. Evacuations remained in effect for the Cottonwood campground and two youth probation camps along Lake Hughes Canyon Road.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Temperatures are expected to dip Sunday, with continued cooling on Monday and Tuesday.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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