More cool weather aids crews fighting Calif. fire

Associated Press
A plane drops water to fight what has been called the Powerhouse fire in the rural community of Lake Hughes in northern Los Angeles County. Calif., Monday, June 3, 2013. At least six houses have been destroyed by the fire, nine more were damaged, and 2,800 people fled 700 homes in Lake Hughes and Lake Elizabeth, 45 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
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PALMDALE, Calif. (AP) — Another day of cooler, more humid air made it easier for thousands of firefighters building containment lines around a destructive wildfire north of Los Angeles, a day after evacuation orders were lifted for nearly 3,000 residents.

The improved weather conditions allowed firefighters to get the blaze 65 percent contained, though crews still had to watch out for wind gusts that could carry embers, said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Ed Gililland.

There were some flare-ups Tuesday, but they remained well within containment lines, officials said. Full containment was not expected until Monday.

A marine layer that moved in at the beginning of the week helped firefighters catch up with the blaze in the Angeles National Forest that had doubled in size over the weekend and spread rapidly through old, dry brush with help from gusty winds and soaring temperatures.

Some 2,800 people in the rural communities of Lake Hughes and Lake Elizabeth were allowed to return home Monday after evacuating Saturday.

Six houses that were destroyed and nine more were damaged as the fire consumed 50 square miles of brush in and around the Antelope Valley about 45 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors declared a local state of emergency for the fire area Tuesday, waiving regulations that might otherwise slow recovery. The county assessor's office urged property owners with serious damage to seek assistance with tax relief.

The cause remained under investigation.

Wildfires were also burning in northern New Mexico, Colorado and Alaska.

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