May 1, 2014 10:56 AM
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (AP) - Firefighters battling a smoky blaze in the foothills east of Los Angeles are hoping to take advantage of a brief respite from the fierce, hot winds that initially pushed the fire into the path of more than 1,500 homes.
Winds that whipped the wildfire over 1,000 acres eased at sunset yesterday and mandatory evacuation orders were canceled.
However, forecasters say the winds could return this morning. That's led officials to order four high schools near the blaze to remain closed.
The fire erupted around 8 a.m. Wednesday in the foothills of the San Bernardino National Forest. More than 700 firefighters remain on the front lines, fighting the blaze with 55 fire engines and four bulldozers. The high winds have prevented them from using aircraft.
At their peak, the Santa Ana winds had gusted to 80 mph, with one gust recorded as high as 101 mph.
More of the same conditions are predicted for today, accompanied by temperatures that could top 100 degrees.