Firefighters have been able to stop the growth of a recent wildfire burning east of Los Angeles, ABC News reports. Despite wind gusts of up to 100 miles an hour and extremely low humidity, the Etiwanda fire has been controlled.
As of May 1, evacuated residents were allowed to return to their homes in the Rancho Cucamonga area. More winds are forecast for the weekend and temperatures are expected to be extremely warm but fire officials are fairly confident that the worst is over. However, residents are encouraged to be prepared: evacuation at a moment’s notice may still be necessary if the fire becomes uncontrollable again.
Fire officials and Rancho Cucamonga residents are feeling extremely fortunate that the fire did not get swept up by the wind and wreak havoc throughout the area. Because of high winds, the crucial air support that is often necessary to fight Southern California wildfires was unavailable. Planes and helicopters were grounded. But as a result of the fire fighters herculean efforts on the ground, more than 1,600 residents who had been evacuated from their homes were allowed to return. Several area schools were closed for several days due to smoke. No serious property damage, burns or other injuries have been reported. KTLA News reports that the fire has burned an estimated 1,627 acres and that it has been more than 50% contained as of May 1.
Though this fire may be under control and its cause will be the subject of continued investigation, the unusually high temperatures and early arrival of Santa Ana winds indicate that a challenging fire season may be on the horizon for Southern California.