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Firefighters make headway against southern California wildfire

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Crews fight California fire
  • The blaze in southern California has burned 1,300 acres
  • Evacuation orders have been lifted
  • Residents say life is almost back to normal

Los Angeles, California (CNN) -- Mild weather helped firefighters in a mountainous area of southern California make some progress against a wildfire overnight, fire officials said.

More than 500 firefighters are battling the "Post" fire, which has burned 1,300 acres so far in Kern County, authorities said Wednesday. All evacuation orders have been lifted.

The blaze currently threatens no structures, and is 30 percent contained, the Kern County Fire Department said in a statement.

The fire in Lebec, about 75 miles north of Los Angeles, is actively burning. It started Tuesday afternoon.

No injuries have been reported and no structures have been destroyed, the Kern County Fire Department said.

Aerial images of the fire showed thick clouds of smoke blowing down the sides of steep hills as aircraft hovered overhead.

Four helicopters and four air tankers helped in the firefighting efforts overnight, according to CNN affiliate KABC.

For residents and businesspeople in Lebec, life was beginning to return to normal.

"Yesterday, there were an awful lot of people hanging around, so business here was good," Janie Cohen, the owner of Rocky's Downtown Bar and Grill in Lebec, told CNN Wednesday. "They were waiting for information, where to go if more people were evacuated, where to take our dogs and horses. The kind of thing we need to know in a mountain community."

Cohen said there were still many fire trucks and several aircraft in the town. "But we can't see a lot of smoke anymore," she said.

Her daughter's family was among those evacuated Tuesday. Cohen had high praise for emergency officials: "I had the opportunity to watch very close up the water-dropping helicopters," she said. "Their aim and precision, in spite of wind and weather, was just amazing."

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

CNNRadio's Matt Cherry contributed to this report.