- Associated Press - Friday, August 12, 2016

LAKE ARROWHEAD, Calif. (AP) - The last people evacuated near a 6-day-old wildfire in Southern California’s San Bernardino Mountains were told they could return to their communities Friday.

“Welcome home,” the U.S. Forest Service said in a statement after all remaining evacuation orders and advisories were lifted at 9 a.m.

Containment lines have been established around 80 percent of the 12½-square-mile burn area in the vicinity of Lake Arrowhead, Silverwood Lake and the high desert city of Hesperia to the north.

At its height, the fire posed a threat to 5,300 residences, but no homes have been lost in the region about 60 miles east of Los Angeles.

A section of State Route 173 remained closed along with forest roads still being used by firefighters.

On the Central Coast, California’s biggest wildfire grew slightly to 110 square miles in Monterey County coastal mountains north of Big Sur. Containment remained at 55 percent.

The fire continued to slowly spread toward Big Sur. Officials said backfiring operations might require closure of Highway 1, a major route for summer tourism through the scenic region.

The blaze, which was started by an illegal campfire on July 22, has destroyed 57 homes, damaged three and led to the death of one man in a bulldozer accident. It is being battled by more than 4,500 firefighters, along with 19 helicopters and six air tankers.

In neighboring Fresno County, an 11-square-mile fire west of Coalinga was 35 percent surrounded and no structures were threatened.

One residence and an outbuilding burned earlier in that blaze, which erupted Tuesday.

More than 1,500 firefighters remained on the lines, supported by aircraft.

Local air pollution control authorities said smoke from the fires in Monterey and Fresno counties was affecting air quality throughout the San Joaquin Valley and the Coalinga foothills.

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