Crews gain on Crown fire, expect containment Monday

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Kevork Djansezian/ Getty Images

Cal Fire firefighters battle the Crown Fire on July 30, 2010 in the hills above Palmdale, California.

Firefighters working to hem in a wildfire that has burned 13,918 acres in Palmdale since it broke out Thursday afternoon had the blaze 87 percent contained Sunday and hope to have it surrounded by Monday evening.

Full containment is expected by Monday at 6 p.m, said Los Angeles County Inspector Don Kunitomi. And all roads in the area had been reopened by sunrise.

Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Andy Olvera said the overnight effort for the approximate 1,100 firefighters at the scene included a "lot of mopping up'' and securing the containment line already in place.

"It's really looking good out there. The weather is cooperating. The humidity is coming up,'' Olvera said. "It's still dry compared to normal weather. But for the most part the wind and humidity is not extreme.''

He said that all major roads were open to residents and non-residents, but asked that anyone coming into the area be mindful of their speeds and drive below the posted speed limits.

The Crown fire, reported about 2:20 p.m. Thursday, is believed to have been started in the Agua Dulce area by someone working on a car wheel, county Deputy Fire Chief Michael Bryant said.

"They were using a hammer to try to get the bolts loose,'' he said Friday, "and that's what the investigation is really focusing on right now.''

Four homes and five outbuildings were destroyed.

Six minor injuries have been reported, including a person stung by a bee and a sheriff's deputy who breathed some smoke, Kunitomi said.

On Friday night, residents of 500 homes in Rancho Vista were told to "shelter in place'' -- to remain in their homes and heed any future warnings.

The advisory was withdrawn Saturday, and all but two roads were reopened.

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