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GLENDORA, Calif. (AP) — Nearly 2,000 residents were evacuated and two homes burned in a wildfire that started early Thursday when three people tossed paper into a campfire in the dangerously dry and windy foothills of Southern California's San Gabriel Mountains, authorities said.
Embers from the fire fanned by gusty Santa Ana winds quickly spread into neighborhoods below where residents were awakened in the pre-dawn darkness and ordered to leave.
The three suspects, all men in their 20s, were arrested on charges of recklessly starting the fire that spread smoke across the Los Angeles basin and cast an eerie cloud all the way to the coast.
One resident suffered minor burns in the neighborhood abutting Angeles National Forest, just north of the San Gabriel Valley community of Glendora, according to Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl L. Osby. Hundreds of homes were saved because of firefighters' preparations, he said.
At least 2 ½ square miles of dry brush were charred in the wilderness area about 25 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles.
Ash rained down on the city, said Jonathan Lambert, 31, general manager of Classic Coffee.
"We're underneath a giant cloud of smoke," he said. "It's throwing quite the eerie shadow over a lot of Glendora."
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