Ranch Fire in Azusa burns 3,000 acres, shifts away from homes; evacuations lifted

Residents in Azusa were returning home Friday morning after evacuation orders were lifted as a nearby brush fire grew to 3,000 acres at 0% containment, but flames were no longer burning toward homes.
AZUSA, Calif. -- Residents in Azusa were returning home Friday morning after evacuation orders were lifted as a nearby brush fire grew to 3,000 acres at 0% containment, but flames were no longer burning toward homes.

The Ranch Fire, which began about 1:30 p.m. Thursday near San Gabriel Canyon and Ranch roads, prompted Azusa police to announce the immediate evacuation of the Mountain Cove community.

No injuries or structural damage were immediately reported.

Helicopters and crews on the ground worked to prevent the fire from reaching nearby homes, and shortly before 4:30 p.m., the Los Angeles County Fire Department reported the blaze was growing but "burning away from foothill
cities and into the forest.''

The fire spread rapidly in dry conditions, jumping from an initial estimate of 10 acres to at least 3,000 acres by 8 p.m. Excessive heat will remain across most of Southern California through the weekend, posing an issue for firefighters battling the raging flames.

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While the flames were coming close to several neighborhoods, it appeared the winds were pushing the fire deeper into the Angeles National Forest, moving in a direction away from the homes. Evacuation orders for Mountain Cove residents were lifted at about 11 p.m.

"Emergency vehicles will be on-site for the next 72 hours to monitor the fire," Azusa police tweeted.

State Route 39, also called San Gabriel Canyon Road, was closed in each direction in the area. Northbound lanes were closed at Sierra Madre Avenue and southbound lanes at East Fork Road, according to Caltrans.

Horses evacuated from Mountain Cove are being accepted at Fairplex in Pomona.

Trailers can enter the fairgrounds at Gate 12, located at 2201 White Ave., according to Renee Hernandez, Fairplex's director of communications.

"Owners will need to bring food, water and bedding for horses,'' Hernandez said. "Please be prepared to follow COVID-19 guidelines -- social distancing and masks required. Stables are spaced to assist with social distancing.''
Fairplex has enough stables to board 200 horses, Hernandez said.
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