Calm winds overnight slowed the growth of a wildfire burning through heavy timber in the Angeles National Forest, forcing evacuations and adding another wildland blaze to Southern California's dry landscape.
Dubbed the "Sharp Fire," the blaze broke out about noon Thursday east of Lone Pine Canyon Road at the top of Desert View Lane near Wrightwood, according to the San Bernardino County Fire Department.
The cause of the fire was unknown, but investigators believe it began near a water tank at the end of a dirt road along Sheep Creek, a drybed this time of year.
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With hot spots scattered across the slope above Wrightwood's Sharp Canyon and within a few hundred feet of homes, residents who stayed behind are keeping a wary eye.
"There's probably only a handful of us left," said resident Richard Ge. "If it gets any closer, we're going."
The Sharp Fire had burned about 2 acres of heavy timber in steep terrain by 3:30 p.m. But within two hours, the fire had grown to consume more than 45 acres, sending a wide plume of smoke into the air, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
Some 100 acres had been scorched by Friday morning, officials said. The blaze was 5 percent contained.
"We don't have any forward spread, but do have a lot of hotspots," said Nathan Judy, with the Angeles National Forest.
Evacuations were ordered for Mojave Scenic and East Canyon drives south from Loan Pine Canyon Road to Buckhorn, Slippery Elm and Mahogany roads, according to the U.S. Forest Service's online incident report.
An evacuation center has been established at Serrano High School located at 9292 Sheep Creek Road in Phelan (map). Up to 100 residences were evacuated.
In the low 80s Thursday afternoon, temperatures in the area dipped into the high 60s by 6:30 p.m. Wind gusts calmed from about 19 mph to 9 mph, according to the National Weather Service. Humidity creeped upward as the night progressed, hovering around 10 percent.
About 300 fire personnel are fighting the Sharp Fire from the air and on the ground. Engines have been assigned to protect homes and, despite the steep incline and "inaccessible terrain," hand crews were cutting lines of brush.
The Wrightwood blaze ignited as 1,000 firefighters and 84 engine companies had descended on Banning -- about 64 miles to the southeast -- to battle the 14,000-acre Silver Fire, which had destroyed several homes and forced thousands of residents to evacuate.