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Calif. Wildfire Forces Evacuation

September 2, 2002

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AZUSA, Calif. (AP) _ A wildfire spread rapidly across 3,000 acres of national forest Sunday, sending thousands of holiday campers fleeing.

The fire was burning in the Azusa Canyon area of the Angeles National Forest about 30 miles east of Los Angeles.

About 7,000 to 8,000 campers were told to evacuate campgrounds.

``This was a holiday weekend and the canyon was full of people,″ state Department of Forestry dispatcher James Arthur said.

Nearly 4,250 acres of brush were aflame across California.

In El Dorado County east of Sacramento, a fire destroyed one house and threatened at least 30 others. It had consumed 700 acres Sunday and was 30 percent contained.

A 15-year-old boy was in the county’s juvenile hall in connection with the fire. A second boy, also 15, was questioned then released to his family, sheriff’s Lt. Kevin House said.

One boy was playing with matches when the fire started Saturday between the cities of El Dorado Hills and Rescue, House said.

In San Bernardino County, a 554-acre fire was 46 percent contained Sunday. Investigators were trying to determine whether a burned body and an incendiary device were connected to the blaze that started Thursday.

The device was discovered Sunday morning, said U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Ruth Wenstrom. She had no further details.

Nationwide, the National Interagency Fire Center reported 17 large active fires Sunday that were burning 660,000 acres.


On the Net:

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

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