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UPDATED: Wildfire explodes in Angeles National Forest; 350 acres and spreading

Posted: July 13, 2009 1:27 p.m.
Updated: July 13, 2009 2:47 p.m.

A water-dropping helicopter unloads water on the Osito Canyon wildfire near Pyramid Lake Monday afternoon.

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UPDATED 2:47 p.m.:
A fast-moving wildfire burning in the Angeles National Forest near Pyramid Lake has spread to more than 350 acres within just two hours, threatening oil, gas and power lines in the area, a U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman said.

Lanes three and four of northbound Interstate 5 are closed and will remain so overnight, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Hundreds of Forest Service and Los Angeles County firefighters were attacking the blaze, which began about 12:15 p.m. and was burning grass and brush covering rugged terrain east of the I-5 near Vista Del Lago, said spokeswoman Dee Deckert.

Fire officials have dubbed it the "Osito" fire.

No structures were threatened.

Officials do not know what caused the blaze and have not contained it, Deckert said.

The blaze comes just days after the Angeles National Forest issued a "very high" fire danger alert for the forest areas, citing hot weather and dry fuel.

Officials have battled at least 80 fires in the forest since mid-May.


POSTED 1:34 p.m.:
Firefighters are battling a fast-moving blaze in the Angeles National Forest near Interstate 5 south of Vista Del Lago, east of Pyramid Lake, Los Angeles County Fire Department officials said Monday.

The blaze, which began about 12:15 p.m. just east of the freeway, quickly spread to char more than 100 acres by 1:15 p.m., said fire Inspector Frank Garrido.

Two lanes on the northbound Interstate 5 are closed as more than 100 firefighters from the county fire department and scores more from the U.S. Forest Service battle the flames.

Check back here later for updates.

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