Progress Against Wildfire East Of Los Angeles

Thursday, September 20th 2007, 7:50 am
By: News On 6

FAWNSKIN, Calif. (AP) _ Authorities lifted an evacuation order for this mountaintop community as crews came close to snuffing out a wildfire that scorched more than 14,000 acres in the San Bernardino National Forest.

Two nights of cool weather and high humidity helped firefighters battle the blaze, which was expected to be fully contained on Thursday, officials said. The fire broke out last week and was 93 percent contained late Wednesday.

``The fire isn't doing a whole lot,'' U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Robin Prince said. ``It's smoldering. There aren't any open flames.''

Hundreds of residents of the Fawnskin area, about 85 miles east of Los Angeles, were permitted to return to their homes Wednesday evening, officials said. Voluntary evacuations had been called off Tuesday in several other communities, including Green Valley Lake, Running Springs and Arrowbear.

Highway 18, a mountain road leading from Running Springs to Big Bear Dam, remained closed because of falling rocks, officials said.

Actress Shirley Jones and her husband, producer Marty Ingels, were among those who had evacuate homes in Fawnskin. Earlier this week, Jones said the flames were just a few hundred yards from her hilltop estate, adding, ``This is a real nailbiter.''

In eastern San Diego County, firefighters finished surrounding a roughly 850-acre blaze, about 1.3 square miles, northeast of Julian, according to the state forestry department.

The fire, which authorities said was started by an illegal campfire, destroyed a vacation home, several cabins and other structures and at one point forced the evacuation of about 400 people from the Whispering Pines subdivision.