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Wildfire Near LA Destroys Homes, Forces Evacuations

Jan 16, 2014 03:39 PM EST
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A wildfire that broke out Thursday morning in a national forest roughly 40 miles east of downtown Los Angeles has destroyed more than 1,700 homes and forced the evacuation of dozens of residents.
(Photo : Reuters)

A wildfire that broke out Thursday morning in a national forest roughly 40 miles east of downtown Los Angeles has destroyed more than 1,700 homes and forced the evacuation of dozens of residents.

Three people have been arrested in connection to the fire that ignited in the Angeles National Forest, according to the Los Angeles Times.

According to the Times, arson investigators were at the scene of the blaze, which had already destroyed at least two homes by 11 a.m. - roughly five hours after it was first reported

LA county fire Inspector Scott Miller told the Times investigators were brought in as a precaution.

"Any time that we can't immediately identify what happened, we will have them come in," he said. "Just to kind of dot our i's and cross our t's."

According to New York Daily News, the three were detained where the fire was believed to have been started.

Reuters said more than 550 firefighters had joined in the fight against the Colby Fire, as it's been termed. Eight helicopters and two planes had also been called on to the scene.

The fire is playing out on especially steep terrain, with homes located amongst the brush at the site of the fire.

"The topography is just really dangerous," Reuters reported Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesman Keith Mora as saying.

"Early this morning, when it broke out, it burned really rapidly and it does appear like it's laying down right now," he said. "We're just trying to gain control prior to the heat-up in the afternoon."

Scott Sukup of the National Weather Service in Oxnard, not far from the site of the fire, said the "dry and windy conditions going on" were not helping the situation, according to Glendale News-Press. As of 11 a.m. temperatures were in the low 70s in Los Angeles.

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