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California wildfire threatens thousands

Only 5 percent contained and threatening 12,000 homes, a wildfire burns in the Angeles National Forest on Sunday.

Associated Press

Only 5 percent contained and threatening 12,000 homes, a wildfire burns in the Angeles National Forest on Sunday.

LOS ANGELES — A wildfire threatened 12,000 suburban homes and rained ash on cars as far away as downtown Los Angeles on Sunday, spreading in all directions in hot, dry conditions.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger urged those in the fire's path to listen to authorities and get out.

Firefighters fixed their attention on the fast-moving northern front as more evacuations were ordered.

While thousands have fled, two people who tried to ride out the firestorm in a backyard hot tub were critically burned.

The pair in Big Tujunga Canyon, on the southwestern edge of the fire, "completely underestimated the fire," sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said Sunday.

The two individuals made their way to firefighters and were flown out by a sheriff's rescue helicopter. They had received adequate notification to evacuate from deputies but decided to stay, Whitmore said.

One of the two was treated and released and the other remained hospitalized in stable condition.

The fire was only about 5 percent contained and had scorched 55 square miles in the Angeles National Forest. Mandatory evacuations were in effect for neighborhoods in Glendale, Pasadena and other cities and towns north of Los Angeles.

Officials said air quality in parts of the foothills bordered on hazardous.

At least three homes deep in the Angeles National Forest were confirmed destroyed, but firefighters were likely to find others.

For the third straight day, humidity was very low and temperatures were expected in the high 90s. Some 2,000 firefighters were battling the blaze.

Mandatory evacuations were also in effect for neighborhoods in Altadena and for the communities of Acton, La Canada Flintridge, La Crescenta and Big Tujunga Canyon.

California wildfire threatens thousands 08/30/09 [Last modified: Sunday, August 30, 2009 10:38pm]

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