California wildfire threatening thousands of homes near L.A. now 80% contained
'The fire is on the side of a mountain, it's not on any road, and we are trying to get firefighters up there'
All evacuations have been called off for homes in the hills northwest of Los Angeles after a day of major progress on a wildfire.
The fire near the affluent and semi-rural enclave of Calabasas was 80 per cent contained as of early Sunday evening — up from 30 per cent at daybreak.
Sheriff's officials said an estimated 3,000 homes were threatened and about 5,000 residents were evacuated at the fire's height Saturday, which was sparked by a car crash that downed power lines.
Three homes were damaged by the blaze, but the extent of the damage wasn't clear, Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Keith Mora said earlier Sunday. Other buildings, including some at a city park, also were damaged.
Fifty-foot-high flames erupted on ridges and embers turned trees into torches Saturday afternoon. The fire flared as Southern California sweltered under high temperatures.
Flames raced through drought-dry brush and came within metres of million-dollar homes. The smoke could be seen across the region and a dusting of ash rained down on neighbourhoods more than 50 kilometres away.
But temperatures on Sunday hovered around 26 C — down from more than 37 C a day earlier.
More than 500 firefighters, aided by bulldozers and water-dropping helicopters were on the scene over the weekend, and three firefighters sustained minor injuries.