California wildfires now 53 percent contained, fire officials say

California wildfires: Firefighters are getting a handle on a blaze east of Los Angeles. The California wildfires started Wednesday.

Leo Jarzomb, San Gabriel Valley Tribune/AP
Smoke from the Etiwanda Fire looms behind firefighters staging on Wilson Avenue in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., Wednesday, April 30, 2014. Dry, gusty Santa Ana winds are fanning a wildfire in the foothills of Southern California's San Bernardino Mountains. (AP Photo/, )

A Southern California wildfire that forced the evacuation of about 1,600 foothill homes is now only smoldering and crews expect to make significant progress as winds ease.

Fire officials say the blaze near Rancho Cucamonga is 53 percent contained Friday and there is no active flame.

No homes have burned in the area east of Los Angeles, and there are no mandatory evacuations.

The blaze began Wednesday morning and quickly surged through dry grass and chaparral.

Winds in the area below the San Bernardino National Forest are around 15 mph, with 25-mph gusts — a far cry from the 70-mph gusts two days earlier.

Firefighting aircraft are available to assist crews after being grounded because of fierce gusts.

The National Weather Service predicts the winds will continue to ease and become variable.

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