Two Uncontained Wildfires Are Roaring Northeast of Los Angeles

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A water-dropping helicopter flies over burning hills in Azusa, California, northeast of Los Angeles, June 20, 2016 amid fires as temperatures in the region reach triple digits.
A water-dropping helicopter flies over burning hills in Azusa, California, northeast of Los Angeles, June 20, 2016. Photo: ROBYN BECK/This content is subject to copyright.

Record-breaking heat blasted Southern California and parts of the southwestern United States, sending temperatures soaring into the triple-digits. Those conditions have also helped fuel two wildfires that are now roaring within Los Angeles County, northeast of the Los Angeles. Now called the San Gabriel Complex, the two separate blazes, the Reservoir Fire and Fish Fire (which stretches 3,000 acres and is the larger of the two right now), were sparked on Monday in the Angeles National Forest. The twin fires haven’t merged yet, but together the fires span 5,400 acres. The fires are zero percent contained, with dry brush and grass feeding the flames. 

More than 600 firefighters from the ground and air are battling the blaze, which sent puffy gray plumes of smoke billowing up into the sky over Los Angeles.

Cars drive west on the 210 freeway in Pasadena, California as heavy smoke from the Reservoir Fire and the Morris Fire is seen in San Gabriel mountains northeast of Los Angeles in the Angeles National Forest. Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images/This content is subject to copyright.

The Reservoir Fire ignited after a pickup truck jumped the highway and exploded in the brush. Authorities have not pinpointed the cause of the Fish Fire. 

Firefighters working on a few flare ups near homes in #Duarte. Look how close: #SanGabrielComplexFire

A video posted by Stephanie Elam (@stephelamtv) on

This area behind me hasn’t burned for 35 years,” Duarte City councilwoman Margaret Finlay told KTLA. “So there’s a lot of dry tinder out there and it’s certainly burning now.”

The twin fires prompted mandatory evacuations of close to 700 homes, and about 24 people bedded down at a Red Cross shelter overnight, says the National Wildfire Coordinating group. 

Temperatures have dipped a bit as of Tuesday, but they’re still sweltering compared to the season average. Authorities’ biggest concern right now is the wind; if it picks up, it could hypercharge the fire. Drought-ridden Southern California isn’t expecting any rain to bring relief.

Two Wildfires Raging in Los Angeles County