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Blaze East of L.A. Hits 14,000 Acres

September 3, 2002

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AZUSA, Calif. (AP) _ A wildfire that forced thousands of people to flee campgrounds in the San Gabriel Mountains during the Labor Day weekend had grown to 14,429 acres Tuesday, officials said.

The blaze, which started Sunday afternoon about 30 miles northeast of Los Angeles, was 5 percent contained, said Linda Steinberg, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service. Full containment was expected by Sept. 10, Steinberg said.

About 7,000 campers were forced to leave behind their tents, clothing and food when the fast-moving blaze headed for them.

``They told us we had 10 seconds to get out, to run,″ Lisette Cardenas told KABC-TV in Los Angeles. ``You could see the smoke right behind us.″

The fire destroyed 14 structures, including two homes of forest personnel, Steinberg said.

More windy weather with temperatures near 100 was forecast Tuesday, hindering firefighters working on steep, forested hillsides at elevations near 7,000 feet.

The cause of the fire had not been determined, but authorities said they had ruled out lightning.

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