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Sunday August 2nd, 2015 2:21AM

Rain aids battle against Calif. forest fire

By The Associated Press
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LOS ANGELES - Firefighters are getting an assist from rainfall in the battle against a 3,800-acre in the San Gabriel Mountains northeast of Los Angeles.

Remnants of a tropical storm are darkening skies in the region Wednesday and Angeles National Forest spokesman John Wagner says it's been raining very lightly.

The moist air, however, does bring the risk of lightning and more fires.

The fire started Sunday and, before the rains came, was 24 percent contained. The fire has stayed in the mountains and has not moved toward nearby foothill cities.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

The assault on the 3,800-acre fire in the San Gabriel Mountains could get a boost if rain showers develop from remnants of a tropical storm streaming over Southern California.

The chance of showers Wednesday and Thursday comes with the risk of dry lightning, which has already started more than 50 fires in California this summer, said National Weather Service specialist Stuart Seto.

The fire started northeast of Los Angeles Sunday and was 24 percent contained Wednesday, officials said. It was expected to be fully surrounded on Sept. 13.

There were nearly 1,300 firefighters on hand despite the treacherous terrain and slopes between 30 percent and 80 percent. At least five firefighters had sustained minor injuries.

There was a 25 percent chance of afternoon and evening thunderstorms in the area Wednesday and Thursday, Seto said.

Temperatures will decrease a few degrees, but uncomfortable humidity will rise from 20 percent in the morning to as much as 70 percent later in the day, Seto said.

The moisture is the last hurrah from Tropical Storm John and it's getting caught in a low pressure system that's approaching from the north, Seto explained.

Firefighters can also expect winds from the southwest of about 15 mph, he said. Winds on the fire front could be different, he said, since fires create their own winds.

By the weekend, a high pressure system should arrive, clearing the skies and raising temperatures a few degrees but lowering humidity, Seto said.

If the rains don't come, firefighters will rely on crews and eight air tankers, 10 helicopters, 68 engines, eight dozers and 11 water tenders.

Firefighters are still looking for a cause. A burned car was found in the area, but it was unknown if the car caused the fire or was just destroyed by it.

As many as 12,000 people were asked to leave the area over the busy Labor Day weekend. About 25 residents of the nearby community of Camp Williams refused to leave.
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