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UPDATE: Blue Cut fire is more than halfway contained

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UPDATE - 7:43 p.m. 

  • Fire officials say the fire is 68% contained as of Saturday
  • Historic Route 66 landmark, Summit Inn, destroyed
  • At least 96 homes destroyed

What started as a 5-acre blaze in the mountains east of Los Angeles earlier this week turned into a 25,000-acre inferno just one day later. 
It has spread across 40 square miles of mountains and desert.At least 82,000 people were told to evacuate.

Tens of thousands of homes are in the path of the blaze. Hot, dry weather and steep terrain is making it difficult to battle the flames."

In my 40 years of fighting fire, I've never seen fire behavior so extreme," Incident Commander Mike Wakoski told the Associated Press.

Fire threatens thousands of homes

Ten air tankers, 15 helicopters and 1500 firefighters have joined the battle, many of them coming straight from other wildfires around the state. The blaze has so far torn through dozens of structures and threatens tens of thousands of homes.

Firefighters have been targeting the residential communities in the mountain towns of Lytle Creek, Wrightwood and Phelan. Although residents were told by local firefighters to not think twice before evacuating, many appear to be choosing to stay. 

'Possibly up to half didn't leave'

"From reports that we were hearing, possibly up to half didn't leave," said Lyn Sieliet, a U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman.

"It does change the way that we can fight fire," Sieliet said. "Now we have to worry about the people in there as well as trying to protect the structures and trying to build a line of defense as the fire comes toward that area."

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