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Thousands to Be Allowed Back Home After 500-Acre California Fire

Calabasas is a city of about 24,000 northwest of downtown Los Angeles. The city is home to several affluent communities and numerous celebrities.
Image: A helicopter makes a water drop at the \"Old Fire\", which burned in Calabasas, California
A helicopter makes a water drop Saturday at the Old Fire in Calabasas, California.GENE BLEVINS / Reuters

Firefighters made great progress battling a 516-acre brush fire Sunday in Calabasas, California, and evacuation orders were being lifted late in the day, fire officials said.

The fire burning in Calabasas was 80 percent contained, officials said early Sunday evening — a substantial increase from 30 percent in the morning.

But part of the fire was still burning in rugged terrain that was hard to access, and expected windy weather could spread the flames before the 400 firefighters battling the blaze have a chance to put them out, Deputy Fire Chief John Tripp said.

"We can drop all the water all day. It's got to be boots on the ground to make sure that fire's out," he said.

The fire, which is believed to have been sparked Saturday after a truck struck a utility pole, had scorched 516 acres, according to fire officials.

Some of the 5,000 people evacuated Saturday night were allowed to return Sunday morning, but they were warned that they might be returning to houses without power. Evacuation orders for other neighborhoods and communities were lifted at 6 p.m. (9 p.m. ET).

Officials said they didn't know exactly how many people didn't have power.

High temperatures and dry conditions caused hundreds of smaller fires to merge into one, Tripp said at a news conference Sunday. "We had fires flaring up all around — in front of us, behind us and on either side of us."

Officials originally said two homes had been damaged, but after inspection, they revised the number to one on Sunday afternoon. Another building — a camp event space — was destroyed, officials said.

Three firefighters had been injured since Saturday, Tripp said. Two suffered knee injuries, and one had a "cardiac event," he said.

Calabasas is a city of about 24,000 residents northwest of downtown Los Angeles. The city is home to several affluent gated communities and numerous celebrities, including the Kardashian family.