Brush Fire Forces Closure of Highway 39

Crews in Southern California were working in dry conditions and steep terrain to contain a fast-moving brush fire that forced the partial closure of Highway 39 and evacuation of campgrounds north of Azusa.

Flames broke out before 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Mile Marker 24 on Highway 39 in San Gabriel Canyon, the U.S. Forest Service said. By 7:50 p.m., the blaze dubbed the Tecolote Fire had charred 400 acres and was 5 percent contained. Officials on Monday downgraded that estimate to 275 acres. They also said it had been 40 percent contained.

There was no immediate threat to lives or structures, officials said

Highway 39 was closed to all traffic, north of East Fork Road, officials said. Residents were given access to the road south of the closure.

The Azusa Police Department said all Mountain Cove residents will be able to get in and out of the area with ID showing proof of residence.

Authorities scrambled to evacuate the popular swimming holes, picnic grounds and backcountry campgrounds along the west fork and north fork of the San Gabriel River. That is north of where a fire burned from the canyon towards Glendora and Azusa earlier this year.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department was also checking out Bear Creek Trail to make sure hikers were out of the area.

Some 200 firefighters were battling the fire with the aid of eight air tankers and four helicopters.

Refresh this page for updates on this developing story.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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