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Wildfire spreads in California; holiday campers safe

The Curve fire is burning in the Angeles National Forest.
The Curve fire is burning in the Angeles National Forest.  

RIVERSIDE, California (CNN) -- A fire that started Sunday afternoon in the Angeles National Forest grew to 10,000 acres within hours, forcing authorities to evacuate Labor Day holiday campers from the popular recreation spot.

"It's burning in heavy brush and timber, and it's burning in a canyon uphill," said Mary Bowman, a U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman. "The prevailing winds are pushing it uphill. It's kind of like a chimney."

The mouth of the San Gabriel Canyon faces the Pacific Ocean, and the ocean breeze was fanning the flames, she said.

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The fire was first reported at 12:34 p.m. (3:34 p.m. EDT) Sunday. The fast moving blaze sent local authorities scrambling to notify campers taking advantage of the long holiday weekend to visit the forest, north of Los Angeles.

"The L.A. County Sheriff's Office is trying desperately to get people out of there," Bowman said soon after the blaze started. But by nightfall, Bowman said officials were confident they had moved all the tourists out of the area.

Mandatory evacuation orders were in place for the following areas: Coldbrook Campground, Fawnskin Picnic Area, Crystal Lake Campground, Deer Flats Campground, and Little Jimmy Campground.

"We are asking that everyone who doesn't have to be there please stay out of the area," Bowman said.

More than 200 recreational cabins are in the threatened areas, she said. So far, the only building known to have been destroyed was an abandoned outbuilding owned by the Forest Service.

One firefighter injured his hand, Bowman said.

The cause of the fire is not yet known.




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