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Wildfires burning in the Southland

Photo: La Canada Flintridge fire  08/27/09 Christine Cotter/Los Angeles Times

Heat, smoke, and wildfires in the Southland today. Fire crews battling four brushfires will not get much help from the weather. Another hot dry day is expected with temperatures reaching in the triple-digits in some areas. This is typical August weather, which did not arrive until a few days ago.

Overnight that little brusher burning near La Canada Flintridge took off. It has grown to around 1,500 acres and is now threatening hundreds of homes. The flames erupted Wednesday afternoon near the Angeles Crest Highway. Yesterday, smoke from that blaze could be seen swirling in the skies over Burbank. This morning when I stepped outside, I discovered a dusting of white ash from that fire in my neighborhood.

Meanwhile, a 230 acre brushfire in the Rancho Palos Verdes area has forced more than 1,500 residents to evacuate their homes. This morning, fire crews attacked the flames from the air with water-dropping helicopters. At midday, evacuations were lifted. Five homes and out structures reportedly have suffered minor damage.

 Also, Firefighters appear to be gaining ground on the largest of the fires, a nearly 2,000 acre blaze burning near Azusa and Glendora. This fire kicked up in the Angeles National Forest around the Morris Dam on Tuesday. This morning, it is reportedly 60% contained.

In Riverside county, firefighters are battling a fourth blaze that has blackened 1,000 acres in the area of Hemet and Idyllwild. This morning, some homes were evacuated. Brush and grass that has not burned in more than a decade is reportedly fueling this wildfire.

Also, today Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in both Los Angeles and Monterey counties because of wildfires. 

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