Los Angeles inferno cools

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By Catherine Hardy  with REUTERS
Los Angeles inferno cools

A smattering of rain and easing temperatures has helped more than a thousand firefighters battling the largest wildfire in the history of Los Angeles gain the upper hand.

Temperatures in the area have hovered around 38 degress Celsius in recent days. However, they were lower on Sunday and are expected to be moderate and the humidity higher in the coming days.

These are positive signs for containing the fire, according to Los Angeles Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas.

However, officials are warning that danger remains.

They say shifting winds could cause burning embers to spread the fire once more through the rugged northern edge of the city, which is home to ten million people.

How big is the fire?

Nearly 2,400 hectares. The La Tuna fire is named after the canyon area where it erupted on Friday.

It is the largest wildfire in terms of acreage in the city’s history.

It has destroyed three homes and damaged one.

Have any homes been evacuated?

Yes, hundreds. More than 700 dwellings were evacuated as the blaze tore through thick brush that has note burned in decades.

Of the 1,400 people evacuated from their homes, 90% had returned by Sunday afternoon.

Officials say nearly all will be back before the day is over.

A stretch of the 210 freeway has been closed for several days. The major freeway will reopen on Sunday night or Monday morning, according to officials.

Are the firefighters getting the blaze under control?

Gradually. It was considered 15% contained by Sundy afternoon, up from 10 percent on Sunday morning.

Four firefighters have suffered dehydration or minor burns.

But a state of emergency has been declared?

Yes, by California Governor Jerry Brown.

The hope is this will ease the path for state and federal funds to fight the fire.

What they are saying

“We have turned the corner, but this is not over. With winds this strong, anything can happen,” – Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told reporters.