Last group of fire evacuees allowed to go home

GLENDORA, Calif. (AP) — Hundreds of residents who fled a wildfire in the suburbs of Los Angeles have returned home after red-flag warnings of extremely dangerous fire conditions expired.

The last wave of evacuees in the Azusa neighborhood known as Mountain Cove, about 25 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles, were allowed to return home Saturday evening.

Containment increased from 30 percent earlier in the day to 61 percent.

The fire erupted early Thursday in the Angeles National Forest when Santa Ana winds hit a campfire that authorities said was recklessly set by three men. Gusts quickly spread flames from the San Gabriel Mountains into Glendora and Azusa, where some 3,700 people had to evacuate at the fire's peak.

Five homes were destroyed and 17 other houses, garages and other structures were damaged, according to early assessments.

Officials say bone-dry winter conditions remain a threat for the region. Dry conditions statewide led Gov. Jerry Brown to formally declare a drought Friday in order to seek a range of federal assistance.

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