California wind-driven wildfire

Associated Press
Smoke from a wildfire can bee seen in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., Wednesday April 30, 2014. Schools and homes were evacuated Wednesday, as dry, gusty winds fanned a smoky wildfire in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains in California. At least three schools were shut down due to the smoky conditions in parts of Rancho Cucamonga, a city of 165,000 people east of Los Angeles. (AP photo/John Antczak)

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Firefighters battling a smoky blaze in the foothills east of Los Angeles hoped to take advantage of a brief respite from the fierce, hot winds that initially pushed the fire into the path of more than 1,500 homes.

As the winds that had gusted to 80 mph on Wednesday eased up during the evening, mandatory evacuation orders for 1,650 once-endangered homes were canceled. The winds were forecast to return before dawn on Thursday, however, which prompted officials to order four high schools near the blaze to remain closed. (AP)

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