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7 firefighters sustain minor injuries battling fire above Azusa

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Update 8:36 p.m.: 7 firefighters sustain minor injuries battling fire above Azusa

Crews worked throughout Tuesday to contain the 3,600-acre Williams fire that's been burning in the San Gabriel Mountains since Sunday, cutting containment lines around the blaze area. City News Service reports that seven firefighters have so far suffered minor injuries, but all were treated and returned to work.

Update 4:43 p.m.: Officials say the Williams Fire is 25 percent contained

Crews are currently focused on protecting a cluster of seasonal vacation homes in the Williams Campground area, says Fire Inspector Tony Imbrenda.

Update 1:14 p.m.: 3,600-acre Williams Fire won't be contained until at least Thursday, Sept. 13

More than 750 firefighters are working the Williams Fire in the Angeles National Forest above Azusa. Fire officials predict that they could fully contain this fire by Thursday, Sept. 13 — at the earliest.

Winds aren’t as strong as during the weekend, and this is turning out to be a humid day in the San Gabriel canyons. The fire has cooled down to the point that aerial teams can collect mapping info, said the U.S. Forest Service’s L’Tanga Watson.

“What we are going to do is get in the air and get some eyes on the northern most tip of the fire, near Rattlesnake peak, because turns out we don’t have a lot of intel on that, because it’s in a rugged, rugged wilderness area,” Watson said.

Firefighters face steep slopes and heavy brush that hasn’t burned in 10 years to 15 years, Watson said. The fire is in the exact footprint of another wildfire that started a decade ago.

Four fixed-wing air tankers, 10 helicopters, 8 bulldozers, 40 engines and 48 hand crews are on the attack.

The fire that started Sunday burned 3,600 acres; now it’s 15 percent contained.

— Erika Aguilar

Update 10:19 a.m.: 5 firefighters injured so far in Williams Fire

Five firefighters have suffered minor injuries battling the Williams Fire in the Angeles National Forest near Los Angeles.

Four crew members were treated for heat problems and one for a twisted ankle. No one had to be hospitalized.

No structures have burned. Firefighters say the burned acreage did not increase overnight and is still at 3,600 acres, or about 5 1/2 square miles.

Slopes up to 80 percent and heat are extending firefighting efforts.

— AP


The 3,600-acre Williams Fire in the Angeles National Forest was 15 percent contained Tuesday morning, following a night where the fire was fairly inactive. Due to rugged terrain, high temperatures and thick brush that hasn’t been burned in a couple decades, it could take a week to get to 100 percent.

Firefighting continued overnight, but with the fire not being nearly as active as firefighters thought it would be, they were able to drop water and build lines around the fire. They were also able to fly helicopters over the fire and map the fire’s hot spots.

Tuesday looks to be another day of hot temperatures and low humidity, and firefighters aren’t sure what kind of factor the wind will play in Tuesday’s fight against the fire.

No structures burned, though four injuries have been reported. No one has been hospitalized.

The cause of the fire that started Sunday afternoon in the San Gabriel Mountains, spoiling holiday hiking and camping plans for thousands, has not been determined.

A burned car was found in the area, but it isn’t clear if it started the fire or was just destroyed by the flames, officials said.

From the command post, the smoke wasn’t visible, but up higher in the canyons, there was a lot of smoke. There was also less wind than at the command post.

Campgrounds that typically attract up to 12,000 visitors on the holiday weekend, as well as rehabilitation centers and a private mobile home community of Camp Williams Resort, were evacuated Sunday. About 30 of the 75 residents of the mobile home park chose to remain with their homes.

Daniel Burress, 68, known to park residents as “Grandpa,” said he has never evacuated, even when wildfires were far closer.

“I’m a Vietnam vet,” Burress told the Los Angeles Times. “So this doesn’t scare me at all.”

Officials said campgrounds, while not in the line of the fire, had to be emptied , so the only road in and out of the San Gabriel Canyon could be open just for fire trucks and emergency vehicles.

Officials say the fire has burned 3,600 acres, or about 5 1/2 square miles. An update was expected later in the morning after a briefing and flyover.

In Northern California, firefighters spent Monday focusing on the rugged and remote northern edge of a weeks-old fire in Mendocino County. That blaze has scorched more than 65 square miles.

At least two other fires were contained Monday shortly after they started: a 150-acre brush fire in hills between Concord and Pittsburg on Northern California and a 100-acre blaze in Fountain Springs near Porterville in Southern California.

This story has been updated.

A screenshot of a Google map showing the location of the Williams Fire on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012:

Correction: An earlier version of this stated that authorities said the fire could be contained by Wednesday, Sept. 5; the actual date they said they could contain it at the earliest is Thursday, Sept. 13.

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