Mount Baldy Residents Go Home With Fire Nearly Surrounded

AP Wire Service

MOUNT BALDY VILLAGE, Calif. (AP) – With a 9-day-old wildfire nearly under control, residents evacuated from this mountain village began returning home Monday evening.

The Williams Canyon fire, which has scorched 36,530 acres and destroyed 76 houses, cabins and other buildings, was 90 percent contained Monday night, with full containment expected by 6 p.m. Tuesday.

At one point the blaze extended some 15 miles through the Angeles National Forest, threatening several foothill communities 30 to 45 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

The evacuation order for Mount Baldy Village, a rustic mountain hamlet of 900 people, was lifted at 7 p.m., said U.S. Forest Service information manager Gary Chase.

“We’ve had people tell us they loved us a lot today, and we’re not used to that,” Chase said.

Firefighters said light rain, cooler temperatures and low winds in recent days helped them surround the blaze, which so far has cost $14.9 million to fight. Its cause remains under investigation.

About 1,300 firefighters remained on the lines. At the peak of the fire last week, 3,500 firefighters worked to bring it under control.