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Cool Weather Subdues Calif. Wildfire

September 29, 2002

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MOUNT BALDY VILLAGE, Calif. (AP) _ Chilly, humid weather subdued a wildfire near this mountain hamlet Saturday, giving a respite to firefighters and the few residents who didn’t evacuate.

The 35,925-acre fire still was less than two miles from Mount Baldy Village, but it was moving slowly and no flames were visible from town. Temperatures in the 90s when the fire started Sept. 22 had cooled to 65 degrees.

Fire crews Saturday set backfires and carved breaks in brush and timber, increasing containment from 35 percent to 65 percent.

The fire has burned 72 cabins and other buildings in the Angeles National Forest and forced hundreds of residents to evacuate.

The state’s other major wildfire in Santa Cruz County was 90 percent contained, helped by heavy fog and temperatures in the 50s. Full containment was expected Sunday. The fire has destroyed 31 homes and blackened 3,150 acres since Monday.

More than 3,000 firefighters on the Angeles National Forest blaze worked to finish a fire line before hot weather returns next week.

Mount Baldy Village was still threatened, ``however it’s not an immediate threat,″ U.S. Forest Service spokesman Ed Gililland said.

The 80 residents who have refused to leave their homes 4,000 feet up the mountain found themselves in fall weather.

``It’s getting chillier and chillier as the day goes on,″ said Missy Ellingson, co-owner of Mount Baldy Lodge. Patrons were wearing coats.

``We’re not starting any fires in our fireplaces yet,″ she said.

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On the Net:

National Interagency Fire Center: http://www.nifc.gov/

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