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Evacuations called off as fire north of Los Angeles calms

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Updated: 5/30/2013 11:27 pm
SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (AP) -- A wildfire that broke out near a power station and utility lines north of Los Angeles burned out of control Thursday, but improved firefighting conditions after nightfall slowed its growth and residents were allowed to return to homes they had evacuated, officials said.

The fire in the Angeles National Forest surged to 1,000 acres and sent out big clouds of black smoke amid afternoon temperatures in the high 80s and winds gusting at more than 20 mph.

Homes in the mountain community of Green Valley were evacuated, but the order was canceled about five hours later as temperatures and winds dipped and the fire largely laid down, the U.S. Forest Service said in a statement. It's not clear how many homes were affected, but about 1,000 people live in the area.

But there was still no containment of the blaze that had plenty of fuel to consume.

"The growth potential of this fire is great," said Forest Service spokeswoman Sherry Rollman. "It's burning medium to thick brush on steep slopes."

About 500 firefighters were assigned to the scene.

Both Southern California Edison and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said the fire was threatening their facilities and they were monitoring the blaze for potential problems, though none had been reported.

The lines that were in danger were transmission lines not distribution lines, and major outages were unlikely, LADWP officials said.

The blaze broke out at about 3:30 p.m. Thursday, just north of Powerhouse No. 1, a hydroelectric plant near the LA aqueduct that has been operating for nearly a century.

One structure has burned but it was not immediately clear what it was.

Further north near Santa Barbara, a fire that burned nearly 2,000 acres in the Los Padres National Forest and forced the evacuation of thousands of campers when it broke out on Memorial Day was fully contained Thursday.

©2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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