Fire officials today said the Colby Fire, which has burned 1,952 acres in the Glendora/Azusa area of the Angeles National Forest, is 95 percent contained with full containment expected later in the day.
Despite the difficulty faced with carving containment lines into the steep and rocky terrain to the north and east of Highway 39 and the Glendora Mountain Road, U.S. Forest Service spokesman Nathan Judy expressed confidence full containment of the fire will be achieved today.
Glendora Police Chief Tim Staab said the fire started when a gust of wind caught papers that the men had thrown on a campfire, blowing embers "all over the place" soon after 5:30 a.m. Thursday.
Incident commanders have begun to scale back the fight, with the assets devoted to fighting the fire now down to 813 firefighters -- it had been more than 1,100 -- along with one fixed-wing air tanker and two helicopters, Judy said.
Highway 39, north of Glendora into the Angeles National Forest, remains closed to all but residents.
The Colby Fire took its name from the community just north of Glendora and affected neighborhoods along the steep mountain slopes on ridges between Glendora and the San Gabriel River Canyon in the Angeles National Forest.
It has destroyed five homes, damaged 17 others, and injured six people, including five firefighters and a civilian, Judy said.
The suspects in custody on suspicion of starting the fire last week were expected to appear in Los Angeles Federal Court this week.
Two of the three -- Clifford Eugene Henry, Jr., 22, of Glendora, and Steven Robert Aguirre, 21, a transient last known to live in Los Angeles -- remained jailed in lieu of $500,000 bail on suspicion of recklessly starting a fire. Jonathan Carl Jarrell, 23, of Irwindale is jailed in lieu of $20,000 bail.
As of early this morning, they have yet to be charged by the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Residents of the Mountain Cove subdivision north of Azusa were allowed to return to their homes Saturday evening, just as red flag warnings expired, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Hundreds of other evacuees had been allowed to return home Friday.
At the peak of the blaze Thursday, fire descended from the mountains into residential neighborhoods as 1,175 firefighters, nine helicopters and two SuperScooper aircraft were thrown into an aggressive fire attack.
Six people were injured, including five firefighters and a woman who was hit by a burning palm frond that fell on her back.