Wildfire Near Los Angeles Ruins Holiday Trips of 12,000 Evacuees

California blaze started over the weekend in a park next to Los Angeles, forced thousands to evacuate.


Another western wildfire broke out over the weekend, this one in Angeles National Forest outside Los Angeles, KTLA reports. The fire forced the evacuation of more than 12,000 campers and vacationers in the park for the holiday, and is still only 5 percent contained as it heads toward populated areas.

[Photos: California Forest Wildfire Picks Up Steam]

Because of the steep, wooded terrain of the area the so-called Williams Fire has been fought mostly from the air, with ten helicopters dropping flame retardant on the blaze, which has thus far torched 4,000 acres, or about six square miles.

"Right now the terrain is very steep, rugged terrain for us to get into," Nathan Judy of the U.S. Forest Service told reporters. "The winds are coming up this afternoon so we want to make sure our firefighters are safe in the area."

The rugged landscape and winds could mean the blaze rages for more than a week.

The fire is the latest of nearly 50 wildfires burning in California, where about 780,000 acres have been lost to fire already this year, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. Heavily-forested Northern California has been the most susceptible, where two large uncontained fires forced thousands of evacuations recently.

Similar hot and dry conditions have led to widespread fires across the western U.S. this summer, especially in Colorado and New Mexico. More than $160 million has been spent fighting fires this year, according to the NIFC.

Seth Cline is a reporter with U.S. News and World Report. Contact him at scline@usnews.com or follow him Twitter.