Evacuations Lifted as San Gabriel Complex Fires Now 30 Percent Contained

About 1,250 firefighters continued their efforts to extinguish the 5,235-acre San Gabriel Complex Fire, which was 30 percent contained, but all evacuations were being lifted Friday.

As of noon, all residents who were evacuated will be allowed home, but access to evacuated areas will be restricted to residents only, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Livestock will not be allowed back in until 8 a.m. Saturday.

For those residents evacuated from the forest area, access to their homes can only be made by using East Fork Road because Highway 39 will remain closed.

Earlier Friday morning, the Sierra Madre Police Department announced that the Chantry Flats Recreational Area had been closed due to the fire danger.

"Law Enforcement realizes that this is a very popular area, especially during the weekends; however for the public's and the community's safety we must ask that you be diligent in remaining out of the area,'' police said.

The fires previously were called the Fish and Reservoir fires before authorities decided on the San Gabriel Complex Fire designation even though the blazes, burning about 1.5 miles apart, have not merged.

Firefighting personnel from both the county and U.S. Forest Service were working to extinguish the flames.

The Reservoir Fire broke out shortly after 11 a.m. Monday off Highway 39 near the Morris Reservoir dam north of Azusa, according to Sherry Rollman of the U.S. Forest Service.

The fire was sparked by a vehicle running off the highway, as officials received a report at 10:57 a.m. Monday of a fatal car crash along Highway 39 near the reservoir where the fire broke out, California Highway Patrol Officer Alex Rubio said.

About 90 minutes after the Reservoir Fire began, a second blaze was reported near Opal Canyon and Brookridge roads near the Duarte/Azusa border, about four miles southwest of the Reservoir Fire. That blaze, dubbed the Fish Fire, quickly roared into the foothills, burning north away from homes but threatening some remote horse stables.

One firefighter was taken to a hospital around 6 p.m. Monday with "minor injuries'' related to heat exhaustion, and a sheriff's deputy suffered similar injuries earlier that day, fire authorities said. No other injuries were reported.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a smoke advisory because of the blazes, urging residents in smoke-affected areas to avoid strenuous outdoor activity. Those with respiratory or heart disease, older adults and children were advised to remain indoors.

Copyright City News Service

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