LA-Area Blue Cut Wildfire 40% Contained, Some Evacuation Orders Lifted

iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Firefighters battling the Blue Cut wildfire ravaging parts of San Bernardino County east of Los Angeles made significant progress Friday, with the blaze's containment jumping to 40 percent by the end of the day, officials said.

"It's looking very good, we took the offensive last night into today," Brad Pitassi, a spokesman for the multi-agency fire command that started managing the fire Wednesday night, said Friday.

And many evacuees were allowed to return to their homes on Friday, with more expected to return on Saturday, Pitassi said.

But that encouraging news was tempered by more sobering figures released Friday: 96 homes and 213 other buildings were destroyed by the blaze, most of them in its first ferocious days on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the San Bernardino Fire Department. And officials also announced on Friday that 37,000 acres have burned.

The number of personnel battling the blaze continues to increase, with the tally exceeding 2,600 on Friday, according to officials.

The cause of the fire remains unknown, so the authorities are asking the public for assistance, encouraging residents to call an anonymous tip line, 1-800-47-ARSON.

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