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Fire burns 750 acres northeast of Los Angeles

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Fire burns 750 acres northeast of Los Angeles

Firefighters from the Los Angeles County Fire Department battle a wildfire in the Angeles National Forest near Los Angeles on Sunday, Oct. 12, 2008. Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesman Ron Haralson says the blaze has charred up to 750 acres in the rugged area of Little Tujunga Canyon, about 20 miles north of downtown.

    LOS ANGELES — Firefighters backed by water-dumping helicopters and planes gained ground Sunday on a wildfire that destroyed two homes and forced the evacuation of about 1,200 people in a rugged area 20 miles north of downtown.
    Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesman Ron Haralson said the blaze charred up to 750 acres and also burned a garage, several sheds and three motor homes.
    No one was seriously injured. A firefighter and one resident reported minor breathing problems.
    Haralson said firefighters are ‘‘getting a really good handle’’ on the blaze that started early. Sunday. But powerful Santa Ana winds are expected to arrive in the evening, and gusts could spread embers igniting brush, grass and chaparral in the area.
    About 450 homes were evacuated early Sunday when the blaze moved southeast toward city limits, said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Stanton Florea.
    ‘‘It burned right down to a couple of neighborhoods,’’ Florea said.
    The fire was burning south of the Wildlife Waystation, an animal sanctuary and rehabilitation facility set on 160 acres. The nonprofit agency houses more than 400 animals, including lions, bears and deer. Officials were loading up the animals in case the fire switched direction.
    The cause of the fire is under investigation.
    Elsewhere in California, firefighters halted the spread of a wildfire that burned about 300 acres of heavy brush, destroyed a home and threatened several wineries in Napa Valley.
    More than 1,500 firefighters were called in to work the blaze, which state fire officials said was fully contained by Sunday morning.
    Investigators said Saturday a rock struck by a car ignited the wildfire Friday afternoon. Strong winds in the hills near the wine country town of St. Helena caused the fire to spread quickly.
    The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said all evacuation orders had been lifted, allowing 100 people to return home after the flames forced them to flee.

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