By Jason Henry and Ruby Gonzales, September 23, 2013
Super Scooper aircraft and helicopter water drops continued Tuesday, September 24, 2013 in the Madre fire in Madre fire in the mountainous terrain north of the city of Azusa. Over 80 acres burned north west of Highway 38 and Ranch Road.
A Los Angeles County Fire Department water dropping helicopter makes a night water drop to battle the Madre Fire in northwest of Highway 38 in Azusa on Monday September 23, 2013.
Super Scooper aircraft and helicopter water drops continued Tuesday, September 24, 2013 in the Madre fire in Madre fire in the mountainous terrain north of the city of Azusa.
Firefighters are gaining control of a brush fire in the Angeles National Forest, near Azusa. At midday, the fire had burned 250 acres and was 30 percent contained — an improvement over the 5 percent containment in the morning.
“The next few hours are crucial because the weather is nice and behaving well. With an aggressive attack, (we’re) hoping to contain ASAP,” said Los Angeles County Fire Department Inspector Keith Mora.
Winds are blowing at 20-30 miles per hour, Mora said.
More than 450 firefighters and two water-dropping helicopters are battling the fire.
No injuries or damages have been reported.
Three homes on Foxtail Court in Azusa were evacuated Tuesday night and about 20 other homes on Foxtail Court went under voluntary evacuation, according to Nathan Judy, spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service.
But as of Tuesday morning, all evacuation orders were lifted.
Deputies also shut down part of Huntington Drive and Encanto Parkway in Duarte due to the fire.
Smoke from the fire caused youth sports in the area to be cancelled. Soccer fields in Arcadia and Monrovia were closed to practice, according to officials from the American Youth Soccer Organization. And students at Azusa Unified schools were kept indoors on Tuesday in response to an advisory from the South Coast Air Quality Management District, district spokesperson Kathy Miller said. All outdoor sports practices were cancelled and tennis matches at Azusa and Glendora high schools were cancelled, she said.
The fire which started along the bottom of San Gabriel Canyon was reported to Azusa police at 5:51 p.m.
Authorities haven’t determined the cause of the fire. But they say the chance of someone being involved is high.
Judy said that 94 percent of fires in the national forest are started by humans.
He said the fire began in the Los Angeles County side and moved into the forest. Firefighters from Los Angeles County Fire Department and the U.S Forest Service were working together to put out the blaze.
Deputies closed Huntington Drive at Encanto Parkway. Residential streets that intersect with Encanto Parkway north of Huntington Drive into Fish Canyon were also shut down. Encanto Parkway was closed and was being used as a staging area for water-dropping helicopters.
Wicker said the closures were to keep people away from the canyon and from getting in the way of firefighters.
Azusa resident Dan Simpson said he saw a huge plume of smoke about 6:30 p.m. while riding the bus from El Monte station to Azusa.
“I knew that was Azusa. I could tell where it was from the bus so I was concerned for awhile,” Simpson said
“I’m a hiker and I love the forest and I know a forest fire can be devastating.”
He was among the 15 to 20 people at San Gabriel Canyon Road and Ranch Road in Azusa on Monday night.
Simpson was also concerned the fire would spread to Fish Canyon
“Those are old-growth chaparral that haven’t burned in years, ” he said, adding that the chaparral might burn out of control if the fire reached it.
The blaze was visible from Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area in Irwindale where several residents flocked to watch or take pictures.
Reporter Venusse Navid contributed to this story.