DISASTERS

Evacuations canceled for dozens of homes as firefighters tame Southern California wildfire

A Southern California brushfire prompted the evacuation of dozens of homes near the border of Orange and Los Angeles counties Tuesday before firefighters with help from a heavy air attack largely tamed the blaze, while wildfires in more rural areas in northern and central California also spurred evacuations.

Residents from about 39 homes were told they could safely return home about four hours after the fire first broke out in late afternoon, Fullerton fire Deputy Chief Julie Kunze said. The fire that grew to 80 acres was 70 percent contained.

Hot spots and some flames are still showing, and firefighters will be working on the blaze night, Kunze said.

The blaze was burning in former oil-drilling land on ridges and hillsides that sit amid dense suburban housing developments, giving a scare to many who lived there when the flames first broke out.

"As I'm looking at it I'm thinking our house is maybe 20 feet away from the flames," Dina Tsuyuki, who evacuated her Fullerton home along with her 13-year-old twin daughters, told KABC-TV. "If they don't get a hold of this our whole neighborhood could be gone."

Meanwhile, a fire burning in Tuolumne County prompted the evacuations of two camps and a few homes Tuesday, state fire spokesman Daniel Berlant.

The fire burning about 5 miles east of the town of Columbia has consumed 100 acres and it is 20 percent contained, Berlant said.

The cause of the fire has not been determined but it doesn't take much to spark a blaze because conditions are so dry this time of year, he said.

"Most of the damaging fires happen in September and October, not during the summer months," Berlant said.

Nearby, a wildfire above Yosemite Valley that began Monday grew to 500 acres, sending plumes of smoke up to the sky that are visible throughout the park, Yosemite spokesman Scott Gediman said.

About 60 firefighters, six air tankers, and three helicopters are in the area fighting the blaze. Additional resources will arrive in the park tomorrow, he said.

Trails on the north rim of Yosemite Valley south of the Tioga Road and east of Yosemite Creek are closed, Gediman said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

California's biggest wildfire, burning in Fresno County since July 31, has charred 152 square miles and brought new evacuations in the tiny communities of Dunlap and Crabtree.