Firefighters gaining control over 7,003 acre La Tuna fire

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About 1,060 firefighters worked for a fourth day to put out a 7,003-acre brush fire that is 30 percent contained, as the last of the residents ordered to evacuate the record-setting blaze were expected to return to their homes LAFD officials said.

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Assistant Los Angeles City Fire Chief Patrick Butler put it this way, "Our firefighters, our men and women, are the most aggressive in the country when it comes to fighting fires. We protect property, families, children, as if they were are own."

He was responding to questions related concerns of a small number of La Tuna Canyon residents who are frustrated by the fact that the fire exploded so quickly and get out of control.

In fact Friday live on Fox 11 the Chief said he was 'cautiously optimistic' they had enough resources to control the fire. Some feel he spoke too soon and was mistaken. While they of course appreciate the efforts of firefighters one woman said to me she was wondering if there's a "better way to stop it."

Fire Department officials FOX 11 spoke with Monday night, more than one were adamant that the fire was driven by wind, triple degree temperatures, fuel that hadn't burned in 70 years, and of course the weather threat of thunderstorms. People just don't understand how fast it all happens. Second-guessing the tactics and strategies always a fact after fires though, and the  Department (City and County) say they welcome the input and  they're happy to answer any questions


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Monday's forecast calls for clouds all day, humidity around 40 percent, light winds and much cooler temperatures in the upper 80s, National Weather Service Meteorologist Andrew Rorke told City News Service.

So far, the weather has cooperated for firefighters in Burbank, according to Burbank Police Sgt. Derek Green. "Overnight, the weather cooperated and we received some rain. It appears, at least for now, that the fire in the Burbank hillside has laid down significantly. We no longer have any evacuation orders in place in the City of Burbank.''

All mandatory evacuations have been lifted by the cities of Burbank, Glendale and in Los Angeles, and Mayor Eric Garcetti estimated all but 10 percent of the 1,400 evacuated Los Angeles residents had returned Sunday with the remainder expected to go home today. Most lanes of the 210 Freeway have also reopened.

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A Smoke Advisory issued by the South Coast Air Quality Management District remained through this morning.

Garcetti welcomed a state of emergency declared in Los Angeles County by Gov. Jerry Brown, saying the decision placed the fire at the highest priority and would bring new resources to fighting it. He called the La Tuna Fire the biggest brush fire in the city's history in terms of acreage.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger told reporters the county would issue its state of emergency Tuesday, after the holiday.

Two firefighters taken to hospitals during the second day of the fire for heat-related illnesses were stable, said Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas. A third firefighters was treated for a heat-related illness Sunday, a fourth was treated for burns and a volunteer Community Emergency Response Team member was medically evaluated although the nature of the illness was not released.

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Three homes were destroyed and one was damaged by flames.  

"We believe two of three had no brush clearance,'' Terrazas said. "So I can't emphasize enough the importance of a minimum -- within L.A. city -- a minimum of 200 feet brush clearance, that's brush from your home.  If there is no defensive space we cannot protect your house.''

Voluntary evacuations remained only for Country Club Drive east of Sunset Canyon in Burbank.

Evacuation centers remained open: in Los Angeles, Sunland Park, 8651 Foothill Boulevard; in Burbank, the McCambridge Park Recreational Center, 1515 N. Glenoaks Blvd.;  and in Glendale, Crescenta Valley High School, 2900 Community Ave.

The cause of the fire was under investigation, authorities said.

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