Most evacuations canceled for Southern California wildfire

A wildfire burns in Santa Clarita on Friday, July 22, 2016. A wildfire north of Los Angeles has now burned about 2.3 square miles of bone-dry hillside. No homes are immediately threatened, but fire officials say evacuations have been ordered from Soledad Canyon to Agua Dulce Canyon Road. Winds of 10 to 15 mph are pushing the flames toward the Angeles National Forest. About 200 firefighters and a half-dozen aircraft are battling the flames in 106-degree heat. (Katharine Lotze/The Santa Clarita Valley Signal via AP)

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (AP) – The majority of some 20,000 people forced from their homes by a wildfire that exploded during the weekend were told they could return home Monday night, though an army of firefighters continued battling flames in the rugged hills and canyons northwest of Los Angeles.

Residents of two neighborhoods still under threat had to remain out of their homes, the U.S. Forest Service said, after a day when the fire grew only slightly to about 55 square miles. So far 18 residences were confirmed destroyed in the blaze that started Friday afternoon and quickly tore through drought-ravaged brush that hadn’t burned in decades.

Some 300 miles to the northwest a blaze in the scenic Big Sur region of the Central Coast had destroyed 20 homes and threatened 1,650 others as it burned 25 square miles, though firefighters made gains Monday and had it 10 percent contained.

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