Optimism grows in battle against big wildfire east of LA - WPSD Local 6: Your news, weather, and sports authority

Optimism grows in battle against big wildfire east of LA

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PHELAN, Calif. (AP) -

California fire officials are optimistic they'll make more progress today against a massive wildfire in the mountains east of Los Angeles.
    
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says the blaze that has burned 58 square miles is now 68 percent contained, and firefighters are transitioning to mop-up phase. A spokesman says, "Things are extremely positive."
    
Officials estimate that about 7,000 people remain under evacuation orders, mostly around the areas of Wrightwood and Lytle Creek. At the height of the fire, some 82,000 people were under evacuation orders.
    
A preliminary assessment found 96 homes and 213 outbuildings were destroyed by the blaze.
    
Crews are also reporting progress containing an arson fire that has destroyed almost 200 homes in the community of Lower Lake. Officials say the blaze is 80 percent contained.
    
More than 1,200 firefighters are battling the 6-square-mile blaze that started Aug. 13. It has destroyed at least 300 structures, including 189 homes and eight businesses.
    
Damin Pashilk, of nearby Clearlake, is charged with 14 counts of arson in connection to the Lower Lake blaze and 11 other fires dating back to July 2015.

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