Firefighters fight back against Californian blaze

  • 21/08/2016

Firefighters in Southern California have a wildfire mostly surrounded, after making significant progress in cooler temperatures overnight on a blaze that has destroyed 105 homes and forced widespread evacuations.

The Blue Cut fire, named after a narrow gorge where it ignited about 120km northeast of Los Angeles on Tuesday in an area called the Cajon Pass, has burned more than 15,000 hectares of drought-parched brush, said fire information officer Mike Lopez.

At its height, the blaze, which authorities called uncannily fierce, had forced authorities to order more than 80,000 residents to evacuate their homes.

They also ordered the temporary closure of a segment of Interstate 15, which connects Las Vegas to the Los Angeles area, where it traverses the Cajon Pass.

But with the fire 68 percent contained, many residents were allowed to return home on Saturday, Lopez said.

Overnight, as the wind prevented the blaze from any dramatic growth, firefighters built strong containment lines near Wrightwood which allowed residents of that ski resort town to repopulate the area on Saturday, he said.

Residents of 7000 other homes in the Cajon Pass area were still potentially in the fire's path and remained under evacuation orders, he said.