Wildfire Forces Labor Day Visitors to Flee Forest Near Los Angeles

A wildfire that broke out in the Angeles National Forest in Southern Calif., prompting evacuation of hundreds of visitors on the Labor Day holiday weekend, was only 5 percent contained on Monday night.

The fire started near a campground Sunday afternoon and had burned 4,100 acres by Monday. Full containment is expected to take about a week, officials said.

About 500 firefighters, assisted by nine aircrafts, were involved in dousing the growing blaze, even as a huge cloud of smoke could be seen from the coast to the desert inland.

KABC reported that officials on Sunday evacuated about 50 residents and 1,000 campers from campgrounds, including Camp Williams and the River Community rehab treatment center.

"I know we have some neighbors up there that didn't leave. We're really worried about them," evacuee Toni Kova was quoted as saying.

"I requested the day off from work, we were looking for a nice time out today," NBC4 quoted a disappointed visitor, Victor Saldana Jr., as saying. "It's good that the government's taking precautions, but at the same time it kind of ruins a lot of people's plans."

According to U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Angie Lavell, an incident management team has been formed to come out with a long-term strategy to fight the blaze. The Red Cross has set up an evacuation center at Glendora High School.

Officials suspect the fire was started by a burning vehicle. "We have our fire investigators from forest service and L.A. County sheriffs are looking at the investigation of this fire. There was vehicle within the area, we don't know if that had anything to do with the fire," forest official Nathan Judy stated.

Campgrounds are visited by about 12,000 visitors on the holiday weekend. The campgrounds were not in the line of the fire, but visitors were evacuated to make it easier for fire trucks and emergency vehicles to move without traffic.

Meanwhile, firefighters were able to douse a separate wildfire that broke out Sunday in Ventura County in the Los Padres National Forest after it burned about 30 acres.