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Firefighters Make Gains Against California's Blue Cut Fire

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(AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Firefighters battle a wildfire on Cajon Boulevard in Keenbrook, Calif., on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016. Firefighters had at least established a foothold of control of the blaze the day after it broke out for unknown reasons in the Cajon Pass near Interstate 15, the vital artery between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Five years of drought have turned the state's wildlands into a tinder box, with eight fires currently burning from Shasta County in the far north to Camp Pendleton just north of San Diego.

Fire crews battling the Blue Cut fire in San Bernardino County made progress in getting a line around the massive blaze. 

It is now 26 percent contained as of Friday morning, according to KPCC in Pasadena. The fire has burned 37,002 acres or more than 50 square miles. 

A fire spokesperson told the Associated Press that some of the 1,600 personnel working the blaze will be demobilized Friday afternoon.  

A small number of the 82,000 residents under an evacuation order were allowed to return home. 

Interstate-15 in the Cajon Pass is back open. 

Check Caltrans District 8 San Bernardino for the latest road conditions

The fire started as a small brush fire along the freeway Tuesday but it soon morphed into a massive blaze fueled by gusty winds and dry vegetation.

Swift-moving flames gutted a historic Route 66 diner, burned homes to their foundations and forced tens of thousands of people to flee the Cajon Pass.

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