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Two Calif Fires On Wane After Threatening Homes

October 2, 1988

DIAMOND BAR, Calif. (AP) _ Firefighters had all but doused a fire that once threatened 30 luxury homes, thanks to a favorable wind shift and residents who had already cleared away dry brush, officials said Saturday.

″The Diamond Bar fire is fully under control and we’ve returned all our units to L.A.,″ Los Angeles County firefighter Larry Westbuy said early Saturday. He said a few local firefighters remained, putting out the blaze’s remaining hot spots.

Elsewhere, California Department of Forestry officials reported they were gaining the upper hand against a brush fire 25 miles away in the Rancho Cucamonga area that had burned 10,665 acres and destroyed one house since it was ignited Wednesday.

Fire officials said that blaze was a result of arson, one of 30 set recently in the Lytle Creek area of San Bernardino County, about 55 miles east of Los Angeles.

It was declared 75 percent contained Saturday, and officials estimated it damaged property worth about $375,000.

The fire at Diamond Bar, which burned 300 acres, came within a few yards of 30 expensive ridgeline homes in the Tonner Canyon area, forcing the evacuation of about 120 residents. All had been allowed to return Saturday.

Authorities said the blaze, which started Friday, was of suspicious origin.

″It was a matter of expert firefighting and the wind shifting in our favor, ″ Westbuy said. ″We got a big break from the wind.″

He said firefighters were also aided by residents who had adhered to an aggressive program mandated by the Fire Department to clear dry brush from around homes each year.

Approximately 120 firefighters battled the blaze in 90-degree weather Friday.

Bonnie Peralez, who was riding a horse in Tonner Canyon when the fire broke out, said it turned into an inferno in a matter of seconds.

″Within 60 seconds, the brush and trees just went up,″ she said. ″I looked over my shoulder, and there was a big wall of flames.″

County Battalion Chief Gordon Pearson said the fire, in an area about 30 miles east of Los Angeles, was being investigated.

In Rancho Cucamonga, about 55 miles east of Los Angeles, 1,155 firefighters battled the so-called Texas fire, which started Wednesday, said Tim Spann, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry.

The fire destroyed one home earlier in the week, but no houses were threatened Saturday and the blaze was 75 percent contained, Spann said.

High temperatures and erratic wind that gusted up to 60 mph early in the week made fighting the blaze difficult, but the weather had eased by Saturday, Spann said.

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