Rye Fire 35 Percent Contained, More Than 7,000 Acres Burned

SANTA CLARITA (CNS) - The 4-day-old Rye Fire in Santa Clarita was 35 percent contained today, a 10 percent improvement, but firefighters are bracing for a weeklong battle, with Cal Fire predicting full containment by next Friday.

The blaze broke out about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday near the 2500 block of Rye Canyon Loop, and -- driven by gusty Santa Ana winds -- has scorched 7,000 acres, destroyed one structure, threatened 5,460 others, and caused burn injuries to a firefighter, authorities said. The firefighter, who may have been an inmate, was airlifted to a burn center for treatment.

All evacuations and road closures issued as a result of the fire have been lifted, and the College of the Canyons evacuation site has been deactivated, officials said.

About 900 firefighters from the Ventura County and Los Angeles County fire departments were on scene attacking the fire Thursday, Cal Fire officials said.

``Firefighters continue to build and reinforce containment lines,'' according to a Cal Fire statement.

Residents of the Valencia Travel Village RV park at 27946 Henry Mayo Drive in Castaic began returning to their homes after evacuations were lifted Wednesday.

The fire prompted the evacuation of about 5,000 people from about 1,300 homes and the closure of sections of the Golden State (5) Freeway and state Route 126.

The Golden State Freeway was temporarily closed in both directions near state Route 126, but the freeway reopened by mid-afternoon Tuesday.

Authorities reminded residents that the Disaster Distress Helpline, a 24- hour national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for those affected by the fires, is accessible at (800) 985-5990.

With hot and windy conditions expected for several days, authorities instructed residents to call 911 if they see smoke.

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