Out-of-control brush fire near Los Angeles forces evacuations; firefighters battling blaze

Some residents already returning home

MONROVIA, Calif. - After an out-of-control brush fire caused the evacuation of some 200 homes, some residents in Monrovia are returning home on Sunday.

The fire broke out Saturday at around 11 a.m. near Avocado Place and Crescent Drive. As of 9:30 a.m. Sunday, the blaze had charred 125 acres and is 55 percent contained. Fire officials had earlier reported that the fire had charred 175 acres but later decreased that figure.

In response to the flames, a mandatory evacuation was issued Saturday. It has since been modified. There were 200 households asked to leave -- that number has decreased to 100. The neighborhoods still under evacuation include Alta Vista, Hidden Valley, Briarcliff and Highland.

According to authorities, a piece of equipment used by a gardener sparked the flames. The wind and dry conditions helped the fire spread quickly.

"We are expecting, again, higher temperature with lower humidity. The wind is the biggest factor for us, our biggest concern," said Monrovia Fire Chief Christopher Donovan. "Our position is, we're cautiously optimistic. The goal is to get those residents back into their homes as soon as possible."

Fire crews have thrown everything they can at the blaze, including 65 fire engines, two air tankers and five helicopters. Sunday, authorities said approximately 160 firefighters were still battling the flames on the ground.