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Etiwanda fire 53 percent contained

Fire near Rancho Cucamonga fueled by wind, high temps

May 2, 2014

The Etiwanda wild fire spread to about 2,190 acres on its third day, and fire officials said it was about 53 percent contained Thursday evening.

The fire started Wednesday morning near Rancho Cucamonga. It was fueled by strong gusts of wind and high temperatures, unusual weather patterns for this time of year.

According to the San Bernardino National Forest, firefighters made “good progress” on the blaze Thursday. Calmer winds allowed crews to final fight the fire from the air.

The fire now is burning into the foothills, out of the flats.

“There is a feeling of cautious optimism at this point that we’ll have the fire wrapped up soon, but we don’t want to be too complacent either.” U.S. Forest Service’s Carol Underhill said. “The perimeter of the Etiwanda Fire has been holding successfully- the winds have died down, which has certainly helped in our efforts.”

Rancho Cucamonga benefited from the fire burning at first to the east rather than to the west. The eastern part of Rancho, as many there call it, is newer, and therefore subject to more strict fire regulations. You won’t see any wood shake roofs, and window shutters must be non-combustible in areas that bump up against wild land, Fire Chief Mike Bell told KPCC.

“We’ve seen over the years that ventilation in and out of the attic becomes an issue, because even with a tile roof, if you have openings in your attic spaces, those embers will fly in there and cause problems,” Bell said, “So now you’ve got mesh material that doesn’t permit the embers to come into the attic spaces.”

Three injuries have been reported, and one structure was damaged by flames.

“We’re not out of the woods yet,” said Brian Grant of the U.S. Forest Service. “The winds are still gusting 25 to 35 mph today with a relative humidity of 5 percent, which is really low.”

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