Blue Cut Fire erupted on Tuesday in the mountainous Cajon Pass
northeast of Los Angeles and, by late Wednesday night, had
exploded to cover 25,626 acres (10,370 hectares), fire officials
While firefighters had managed to carve containment lines around
only 4 percent of the blaze, state transit officials said
northbound lanes of Interstate 15 would reopen in the area.
Fire officials expressed concern that "red flag" weather
conditions would keep the area dry, hot and windy into Thursday
The Blue Cut Fire, named for a narrow gorge north of San
Bernardino where it started, threatened the town of Wrightwood
near a ski resort and other communities, prompting evacuation
orders for some 80,000 residents.
Authorities have described the blaze as unusually fierce, even
for a year of intense wildfires in the U.S. West, where years of
drought have placed a heavy burden on firefighting resources.
The cause of the fire was under investigation.
U.S. government forecasters have said the risk of major
wildfires in Southern California is likely to remain high until
December, given the dryness and warm weather.
About 600 miles (970 km) to the northwest, the so-called Clayton
Fire was 50 percent contained after charring nearly 4,000 acres
in and around the community of Lower Lake and destroying 286
homes and other structures, according to the California
Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Kevin
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