Highway 39 Still Closed After Fire in Angeles National Forest

AZUSA (CNS) - A portion of Highway 39 in the Angeles National Forest remained closed today due to a brush fire that charred 220 acres and was still only 65% contained, officials said.

The fire was reported about 1:20 p.m. Thursday near the 9500 block of North San Gabriel Canyon Road, also called Highway 39, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department, which was assisting Angeles National Forest crews.

The blaze grew from about 25 acres to 240 acres in less than two hours, first forcing evacuations of campers in the West Fork area of the forest and soon other areas of the forest, according to the Glendora Police Department and the U.S. Forest Service.

The estimated acreage was downgraded to 217 acres on Friday morning, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department, but had inched back up to 220 Saturday morning.

The combination of hot temperatures, low relative humidity, locally gusty winds, and drying fuels were expected to continue to bring elevated fire weather conditions to the area on Saturday, the U.S. Forest Service said. There were 623 firefighters and support personnel assigned including 21 crews, 24 engines, six helicopters, three dozers, and eight water tenders. Fixed-wing aircraft were available to the fire, but are also available to respond to new fires.

Highway 39 was closed in both directions between E East Fork Rd and Old San Gabriel Canyon Road.

The West Fork area of Angeles National Forest has been evacuated as a precaution. The Cold Rock Campground and San Gabriel OHV area are closed to the public.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued temporary flight restrictions, including for drones, for a 5-mile radius around the fire area and below 8,000 feet.

VIVA Rescue, a nonprofit organization specializing in rescuing horses, offered in a Twitter post to help evacuate animals – “equines, livestock and domestic pets” -- from the forest. Anyone needing its help was urged to send a text to 310-808-5943.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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