By City News Service
A main road into the San Gabriel Mountains was reopened Saturday after it was closed to traffic soon after the Colby Fire broke out in the Glendora/Azusa area of the Angeles National Forest more than a week ago.
The blaze is 98 percent contained and full encirclement is now expected on Sunday, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
The fire has consumed 1,952 acres, destroyed five homes and damaged 17 others while injuring six people, including five firefighters and a civilian, according to the U.S. Forest Service. It also destroyed 10 outbuildings and damaged one other, officials said.
San Gabriel Canyon Road reopened about 5 p.m., according to Caltrans.
The road was closed soon after the outbreak of the Colby Fire around 5:30 a.m. on Jan. 16.
Officials had put off declaring the blaze fully contained because of hot spots in the interior of the burn area, U.S. Forest Service spokesman Nathan Judy said.
"We don't want to walk away from it and have something happen," he said Friday.
The 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.
Glendora Police Department Chief Tim Staab said it started when a gust of wind caught papers that three men had thrown on a campfire, blowing embers "all over the place."
Clifford Eugene Henry, Jr., 22, of Glendora, and Steven Robert Aguirre, 21, a transient last known to live in Los Angeles, and Jonathan Carl Jarrell, 23, of Irwindale were each charged Tuesday with one federal count each of unlawfully setting a fire.
At the peak of the blaze, 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.