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Firefighters battle blaze in US forest

Firefighters battle blaze in US forest

A wildfire northeast of Los Angeles fouled the air breathed by millions of Southern Californians on Wednesday, but the flames were burning away from suburbs on the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and no homes had been lost.
Stoked by the arrival of high temperatures and extremely dry air after weeks of unusually mild summer weather, the 750-acre (300-hectare) fire in Angeles National Forest produced a pungent white haze that spread through the Los Angeles Basin and east into San Bernardino County.
"It's pretty bad, the smoke," said Natacha Cuvelier, a 20-year-old student at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. "Once I stepped out of the door, I could smell it."
The air was considered unhealthy in many areas and regional officials urged people to avoid strenuous activities, indoor or out.
Schools were advised to suspend physical education and sports, said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, Los Angeles County's director of public health.
The fire, which erupted Tuesday near Morris Dam in San Gabriel Canyon, was 10 percent contained as temperatures headed up to triple digits, said forest dispatcher Chris Rush.
Aircraft dropped water and retardant as hundreds of firefighters struggled to contain flames that leapfrogged among steep, rocky ridges where the brush had not burned for at least 25 years.
No injuries were reported but a voluntary evacuation was in effect for a tiny community near the San Gabriel River.
Investigators believe the fire was caused by a person, but it was unclear whether it was accidental or deliberate, Rush said.
The Angeles National Forest sprawls across about 1,000 square miles (2,600 sq. kilometers) of chaparral, pine and fir in towering mountains and rugged canyons north and northeast of Los Angeles.


Updated : 2021-03-02 13:38 GMT+08:00