CALIMESA, Calif. – Crews battling a 6,000-acre wildfire scrambled to burn off heavy brush near homes Thursday before an expected resurgence of the hot, dry Santa Ana (search) winds.
By morning, the day-old blaze was 25 percent contained, up from 5 percent the night before, and flames had retreated from a freeway's edge, said Rick Griggs, spokesman for the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (search).
The blaze had threatened about 100 homes in a sparsely populated area about 60 miles east of Los Angeles (search), and residents of about 20 homes had been encouraged to evacuate, but those residents were told they could return, officials said.
"The weather was definitely in our favor," forestry fire Capt. Jason Neuman said.
Officials were also working to reopen the 60 Freeway, which was closed near San Timoteo Canyon on Wednesday after a wall of flames roared up to its edge, Griggs said.
While the fire no longer threatened the highway, troopers wanted to inspect the pavement for damage before letting traffic return, he said.
Winds were expected to increase later in the day, with gusts of up to 45 mph, low humidity and temperatures in the 90s.
Meanwhile, a wildfire that started in Mexico jumped the U.S. border and burned Wednesday across 1,640 acres on the American side, officials said. It was about 10 percent contained. The blaze, which totaled about 2,640 acres, was sparked by a structure fire in Mexico, officials said.
In San Bernardino County, a 935-acre fire burning in rugged terrain in and around San Bernardino National Forest was 85 percent contained Wednesday, said Robin Prince, a forest spokeswoman.