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Firefighters Make Progress on Calif. Wildfire

The wildfire that forced thousands from their homes in Southern California continued to burn Saturday, but firefighters made progress overnight and only one community remained evacuated due to the blaze, fire officials said.

While the wildfire that began Thursday in the suburbs of Los Angeles was only 30 percent contained Saturday, firefighters were able to effectively extinguish flames overnight Friday that had burned 1,900 acres, according to an incident report.

“We haven’t had the winds,” said Sherry Rollman, a U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman, adding that the favorable conditions have prompted fire officials to predict the fire would be completely contained by Wednesday.

Still, the National Weather Service declared a red flag warning would stay in place in Los Angeles until Saturday night due to low humidity.

The same dry weather prompted California Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a drought emergency for the entire state on Friday after one of the driest years ever in the state.

While the lack of humidity contributed to sparking the fire, three men were also arrested for burning an illegal campfire that officials believe ignited the blaze — dubbed the Colby Fire.

At the peak of the Colby Fire’s strength, more than 3,500 people were ordered to evacuate their homes, Rollman said. Residents of fewer than 300 homes remained evacuated on Saturday, she said.

Five homes were destroyed by the flames in addition to 17 structures that were damaged, according to early assessments.