Madre Fire: Crews gain on 250-acre fire above Azusa; 1 firefighter injured by boulder (Update, Photos)

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Update 4:39 p.m. Crews gain on fire; 1 firefighter injured by boulder

Firefighters made swift progress on the Madre Fire burning in the San Gabriel Mountains Tuesday, although one firefighter was injured in the process.

The fire is now at 70 percent , the Los Angeles County Fire Department Spokesman Keith Mora said Tuesday afternoon. Full containment is expected by Friday.

Mora said one firefighter was injured Tuesday afternoon.

"This afternoon we had a firefighter who was hit by a falling rock," Mora said. "A boulder was coming down the hill and hit him in the leg."

Mora said he was moved to hospital for evaluation. A tweet earlier in the day described the injury as 'minor'.

Evacuees have returned to their homes, Mora said.

"We have structure protection still in place for the 25 homes,' he said, "although they're at no risk at this point."

The fire has burned 250 acres so far. — KPCC staff

Update 4:12 p.m. Fire lying down, creeping slowly westward

U.S. Fire Service spokesman Robert Brady said the containment remains at 30% and size at 250 acres, or less than half a square mile. 

"We have still lot of open line on the fire creeping into Fish Canyon on the west. All the fire is west of Highway 39," Brady said. "Right now there's not a whole lot of fire activity, but still a lot of hot stuff out there. We'll be working on it a couple of days."

He added that the wind seems to be working with firefighters, lying low. Crews will be working all night, patrolling the area and beginning mop-up operations. A night-time fog is expected to blanket the area, which Brady said will help prevent the fire's spread. — Eric Zassenhaus, KPCC

Update 12:30 p.m.: Firefighters look to contain fire before the onset of stronger winds 

A brush fire burning in the San Gabriel Mountains above Azusa is now at 250 acres with 30 percent containment, LA County Fire Department Inspector Keith Mora told L.A. News Group. 

"We are making an aggressive attack on ground and air to try and grab a hold of the fire before the winds change," he said. 

Mora said firefighters are advising residents to be cautious with winds expected to be at 20 to 30mph through the evening and Wednesday morning. Currently, there are no damages, no injuries and no structures threatened, Mora said. 

Azusa resident  Jennifer Riedel described the scene in her neighborhood when the fire erupted shortly before 6 p.m. Monday. 

"What really struck me — coming from day light — when we entered the street it was suddenly night," she told KPCC. "I actually feel safer now that's it's happened and I see how immediate the help is and how great the firefighters are. It's actually comforting in a weird way."

Pollution regulators issued a smoke advisory for the valley and the San Bernardino Mountains to the east, saying areas directly impacted may experience air quality in the "unhealthy" range or higher.

The Forest Service says evacuation advisories were lifted early Tuesday for residents of three foothill homes closest to the blaze. Some 450 firefighters from the Forest Service and Los Angeles County are battling the flames.

Update 8:39 a.m.: Firefighters concerned with the speed and direction of the wind

A wildfire has charred 200 acres of dry brush in the San Gabriel Mountains just above the Los Angeles suburb of Azusa. The fire, which began shortly before 6 p.m. Monday, is mostly burning in the Angeles National Forest, away from populated areas.

L.A. County Fire Department Inspector Keith Mora said although the fire didn’t change much overnight, winds began to pick up on Tuesday. They are now reaching 12 m.p.h. with gusts up to 30 m.p.h.

“So we do anticipate a little more active fire today,” Mora said.

Firefighters will focus on attacking the fire by the air with 13 helicopters and two “Super Scoopers” airplanes to dump water on the blaze, the inspector said. Tuesday morning will be crucial to making progress on the fire, as winds are expected to shift in the late afternoon.

There are 25 homes threatened by the fire and there are fire crews deployed around this area to protect the structures in case the wind shifts. Three of those homes were under mandatory evacuation, with the remainder under voluntary evacuation.

The Madre Fire remains at 5 percent containment.

The glow from the flames and thick smoke was visible to Tuesday morning commuters traveling the 210 Freeway.

The cause is still under investigation.

7:16 a.m.: Madre Fire burns in the Angeles National Forest

A wildfire has charred 200 acres of dry brush in the San Gabriel Mountains just above the Los Angeles suburb of Azusa.

The fire, which began shortly before 6 p.m. Monday, is mostly burning in the Angeles National Forest, away from populated areas. It was 5 percent contained just before midnight Tuesday.

The glow from the flames was visible to early morning commuters traveling the 210 Freeway.

U.S. Forest Service spokesman Robert Brady said residents of three foothill homes closest to the blaze had been advised to evacuate.

Although the fire was burning away from that area and into the forest, those homes and others in Azusa could be threatened if the winds change direction and push it to the south.

The fire's cause wasn't immediately known.

 

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