CORONA, Calif. (AP) — Cooperative weather and the efforts of firefighters helped beat back flames Sunday that had threatened hundreds of homes near a Southern California dam.
Evacuation orders were lifted just before dawn for about 300 homes in an area along the border of the cities of Norco and Corona, about 35 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles.
Cooler temperatures and low winds meant fire crews were able to attack the blaze, though on-the-ground conditions did not make that fight easy.
Because the fire is in the Prado Dam Flood Control Basin, vegetation has not burned in decades, according to Capt. Mike Mohler of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. As a result, the area that is burning has up to 3 feet of "duff" — needles, leaves and other combustible plant debris.
At the same time, California's drought means the basin has not held water recently, Mohler said.
The fire was reported shortly after 6 p.m. Saturday and grew to at least 300 acres, but may have burned more since that estimate was done Saturday evening. Due to smoke sitting over the fire, officials were not able to update their estimate Sunday morning. The last estimate had firefighters creating lines around 15 percent of the flames.
Because the smoke was not blowing away, area residents were urged to stay indoors.
No property damage or injuries were reported, and the cause of the blaze was under investigation.
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