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Oak Glen residents evacuated from Apple fire can return home

Progress in containing the Apple fire on its northwest edge has prompted the U.S  Forest Service to cancel the evacuation order for the Oak Glen area of San Bernardino County that had been in place since July 31.

An evacuation warning remains in place for Forest Falls, Morongo Valley, Pioneertown and Rimrock, the Forest Service said Friday morning, Aug. 7.

The fire had burned 29,267 acres and remained 30% contained at 9:30 a.m.

Incident commanders said they expected to complete the containment line in the Oak Glen area today as the flames back down slopes toward the line. Also, the threat to Forest Falls has been reduced as firefighters make progress in that area.

In Millard Canyon, the absence of strong winds has helped firefighters almost wrap up their efforts in Millard Canyon from the San Gorgonio Wilderness boundary to Corral Road.

Crews will arrive at the north edge of the fire in the Wilderness on Friday to size up the firefighting needs there. Smoke is expected to blow toward the Morongo Valley and remain there until late in the evening. People who are sensitive to smoke should limit outdoor exercise, the Forest Service said.

In the area where the fire started, near Cherry Valley and Banning, firefighting crews will be reduced to patrols Friday as the containment line has been completed there.

The Apple Fire ignited July 31 and quickly grew to thousands of acres, fueled by gusting winds and dry brush. Later, fire officials said the blaze started from a vehicle’s faulty exhaust. That vehicle had not been reported located as of Friday.

The fire is expected to be fully contained around Aug. 17. Containment is when firefighters create and hold a fire break around the perimeter of a wildfire. The break can be created by natural means, such as a stream or a river or roads and freeways, or by firefighters digging lines around the fire with bulldozers and hand tools.

The fire has destroyed four homes and eight other structures. One firefighter was injured. Cal Fire estimates 2,586 homes in several communities were forced to evacuate at the height of the fire, affecting 7,800 people.

Source: Orange County Register

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