400 firefighters battle the Madre Fire north of Azuza

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(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

AZUSA (CNS) – A fire that began north of Azusa late Monday and burned into the Angeles National Forest, scorching about 250 acres, was 30 percent contained as of midday today, the U.S. Forest Service reported.

Crews hoped to gain more ground through the afternoon, mindful that winds were forecast to pick up around 5 p.m.

The blaze, dubbed the Madre Fire, started at 5:56 p.m. Monday, and firefighters fought the flames with SuperScoopers, helicopters and ground forces. About 400 firefighters continued the effort today, backed by the aircraft.

No injuries were reported.

Overnight, the threats to homes on its eastern flank had diminished, so officials called off the evacuations of several homes, said Nathan Judy of the Forest Service, which took over firefighting duties from the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Late this morning, the South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a smoke advisory for areas of the San Gabriel Valley and the San Bernardino Mountains, saying that areas directly impacted by smoke and ash may experience air quality in the “unhealthy” range or higher.

The fire was mostly burning in Fish Canyon near Van Tassel Ridge, said Angel Lavell of the Angeles National Forest.

Street closures in the Duarte area included Huntington Drive at Encanto Parkway. All residential streets that intersect with Encanto Parkway north of Huntington Drive into Fish Canyon were also closed.

Encanto Park was being used as a staging area for water-dropping helicopters. Some areas were open to residents only.

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