- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 27, 2008

SIERRA MADRE, Calif. (AP) — A wildfire in Southern California that has scorched 270 acres and forced the evacuation of about 100 homes in neighborhoods might not be under control for days, officials said today.

Firefighters originally had hoped to have the blaze contained today, but gusting winds late last night kept the fire burning out of control and creeping toward nearby homes, said Elisa Weaver of the Arcadia Fire Department.

The mandatory evacuation order came shortly before 11 p.m. The fire broke out on a hot, dry Saturday afternoon about 10 miles northeast of Pasadena, Weaver said.

More than 100 hikers were escorted out of a forest by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies, and Boy Scouts were evacuated from a camp, Weaver said. No injuries were reported.

Containment was not expected for two to three days, Weaver said.

“I think the biggest concern is this area — has not burned in 10-plus years, so there’s a lot of fuel up there for this fire,” Weaver said.

More than 200 firefighters were aided by a dozen engines, three water tankers and three helicopters as they took on the blaze, Weaver said. She said more air support was expected later this morning.

“They plan on hitting this thing at full force as soon as dawn hits,” Weaver said.

Meanwhile, two shelters have been set up in the area for evacuees.

Flames outlined steep ridges about a mile above Sierra Madre, a community of about 11,000 at the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains that is popular with artists.

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