Helicopters drop water on a wildfire's flames as they burn through the hillside Thursday, January 16, 2014, in the Glendora, Calif., area.

Wildfire Near L.A. Burns 1,700 Acres, Destroys 2 Homes

L.A. wildfire forces 2,000 residents to evacuate homes.

Helicopters drop water on a wildfire's flames as they burn through the hillside Thursday, January 16, 2014, in the Glendora, Calif., area.
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A wildfire that sparked 30 miles northeast of Los Angeles has spread across 1,700 acres of the Angeles National Forest.

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Police said the fire ignited early Thursday morning after three men were sitting around a campfire in a restricted area near the city of Glendora, the Los Angeles Times reported. Clifford Eugene Henry Jr., 22, of Glendora, Calif.; Jonathan Carl Jarrell, 23, of Irwindale, Calif.; and Steven Robert Aguirre, 21, a homeless man, reportedly were tossing paper into a campfire when the wind kicked in, sparking a brush fire.

The three were apprehended by police, who received a report of suspicious people walking away from the fire. They appeared apologetic, officials said, but are charged with recklessly starting the fire and were being held on $20,000 bail each, CBS News and The Associated Press reported.

"They are being cooperative," Glendora Police Chief Tim Staab said at a news conference. "I've been told by detectives that one has made an admission to our detectives and has admitted to setting this fire."

Meanwhile, the turbulent Santa Ana winds combined with dry weather provoked the brush fire's flames, fueling an inferno that threatened numerous houses in the Glendora area. The school district canceled classes for students in the areas affected and nearly 2,000 residents have been evacuated from their homes, USA Today reported.

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"We were able to save hundreds if not thousands of homes," Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl L. Osby said. But two homes were destroyed in the flames, Osby told reporters.

Injuries so far have been minimal, with only one person suffering minor injuries, Osby said.

More than 700 firefighters have been struggling to contain the fire, CBS reported.

 

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