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Calif. fire under control; Colo. and N.M. fires burn

June 4, 2013 at 5:06 PM   |   Comments

LOS ANGELES, June 4 (UPI) -- Evacuations were lifted for communities near the Powerhouse fire in the Antelope Valley of California, officials said Tuesday.

"We're cautiously optimistic that if conditions continue we'll be able to see containment early next week," said Los Angeles County Fire Department Inspector Tony Akins.

The fire, fed by dense and flammable grasses and a threat to communities near Southern California's San Francisquito Canyon, Elizabeth Lake and Lake Hughes, was declared 60 percent contained Monday, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The Powerhouse fire has burned over 32,000 acres, and over 2,000 firefighters remain in the area, the newspaper said Tuesday.

Fighting the fire also involves using 11 helicopters to drop water, Akins said.

The fire thus far has injured three people, destroyed six homes and damages nine others.

Fires in New Mexico and Colorado have taken a toll as well. The Bluebell fire, near Conifer, Colo., erupted Monday afternoon, officials said, burning 15 acres and threatening 100 homes.

Evacuations of thousands of residents were ordered for a four-mile radius around the fires, west of Denver, the Denver Post reported Tuesday.

A fire in New Mexico's Thompson Ridge in the Valles Caldera National Preserve had burned about 4,451 acres and is 5 percent contained since it began Friday, officials said Tuesday.

Efforts thus far to contain the fire have included helicopter water drops and the establishment, by bulldozer, of soil lines to protect property near the historic town of La Cueva, N.M., the (Santa Fe) New Mexican reported.

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