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Wildfires Continue To Burn Near LA, And The Heat Doesn't Help

Firefighters on Friday watch as the Ranch 2 fire burns in the San Gabriel mountains above Azusa. (Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images)
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Sunday 3:30 p.m. update: The Lake Fire continues to burn near Lake Hughes and is now approaching 18,000 acres. The fire remains at 12% containment.

Meanwhile, police are searching for a man suspected of intentionally starting the Ranch 2 Fire in Azusa. Authorities say the suspect, 36-year-old Osmin Palencia, is believed to have been living in a homeless encampment in the Azusa Canyon riverbed. Witnesses say he started the blaze during an argument with another man.

The Ranch 2 Fire has burned 2,256 acres and is 7% contained. Firefighters in that area are facing temperatures over 100 degrees, and are concerned about possible thunderstorms.

Smoke from the fires is creating unhealthy air quality across much of L.A. County. As a result, a heat wave ozone advisory is in effect. High levels of ozone can cause respiratory problems including asthma attacks and lung damage.

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Wildfires continued to burn near L.A. area on Saturday, forcing firefighters to work in the extreme heat.

As of Saturday morning, the Ranch 2 Fire had burned roughly 2,500 acres near Azusa and was 3% contained. Evacuation orders were lifted for the Mountain Cove community, although U.S. Forest Service spokesperson Deb Schweizer said crews were in the area overnight on Friday, “primarily focusing on making sure the developed areas near the fire are protected and working on some of the contingency line uphill.”

Schweizer said the Ranch 2 Fire was being remapped Saturday to get a more accurate account of acreage and containment.

Meanwhile the Lake Fire, burning near Lake Hughes, had destroyed six structures and damaged three. Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesman Jake Miller said infrared mapping done overnight revised the acreage to over 14,700, with 12% containment.

Temperatures will be over a hundred degrees in both fire zones, and the intense heat makes it very easy for wildfires to grow quickly. Firefighters have to take frequent breaks to stay hydrated while working the fire line.

A wildfire near Corona that prompted evacuations earlier this week is now 75% contained, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.

This story has been updated.


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