Fires Blazing Across California

Firefighters expected full containment Monday morning of a 350-acre wildfire that burned through chaparral and briefly threatened homes southeast of Hemet (search).

The fire was 75 percent contained after edging near the tiny desert community of Anza and prompting the evacuation of 50 homes in the Bautista Canyon (search) and Murray Hill (search) areas, said Melody Lardner, a U.S. Forest Service fire information officer. All evacutations orders were lifted by Sunday night.

The Trinity Fire (search) started shortly afer 1 p.m. and exploded in dense vegetation and hot, dry weather, Lardner said. About 300 firefighters aided by nine aircraft battled the blaze in heat that reached 112 degrees. One firefighter suffered heat exhaustion.

The fire was partly in the San Bernardino National Forest (search), north of state Highway 371. The flames had raced through chaparral and timber left dry by several years of drought and a bark beetle infestation that has killed hundreds of trees in the area.

People reached by phone in the area said the fire started on the nearly 900-acre campus of Trinity Children and Family Services (search), which houses troubled youth.

"The fire started on the labor school property and it's moved southwest about a mile and a half now," James Johnson, whose brother Merl's home was in the fire's path, said Sunday afternoon. "It's not totally out but there are no big plumes of smoke in our area now. They're getting it under control."

The new fire came after firefighters spent much of the weekend battling several blazes around the state that scorched thousands of acres and forced scores of people to evacuate their homes.

In Southern California, nearly 700 firefighters converged on a blaze in the Angeles National Forest (search) that had burned 1,330 acres east of Interstate 5 near Castaic and destroyed two outbuildings. It was fully contained by Sunday evening, said U.S. Forest Service (search) spokesman Howard Okamoto.

The cause of the fire, which was first reported Saturday, remains under investigation.

Firefighters were expected to mop up the remains of three other wildfires that consumed more than 4,000 acres Saturday in Northern California near Angels Camp (search).

The largest blaze, dubbed the Copper Fire, had charred more than 3,400 acres near Copperopolis and forced the evacuation of about 210 people in Calaveras County. The fire was 90 percent contained Sunday.

The blaze was caused by a mechanical problem with a car traveling east on Highway 4, California Department of Forestry (search) spokeswoman Renee Rowe said.