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Williams Fire: Firefighters Head into Treacherous Terrain

With 69 percent of the fire contained, officials say the most dangerous work is to come.

After four days of battling a raging wildfire in scorching heat and dry, steep mountainsides, firefighters have the Williams Fire 69 percent contained as of Thursday afternoon.

But it’s the next 31 percent of the work that has fire officials concerned.

“The rest of the work is on the steepest piece of ground,” said U.S. Forest Service Deputy Incident Commander Mark Nunez.

Because of the steep terrain and distance from the nearest roads, crews will have to hike in and have their equipment and supplies flown in to the fire point, said Nunez.

Firefighters will camp two to three days in the canyon because of the isolated location.  

When the  in the Angeles National Forest on Sunday, the summer heat, mountainous terrain and dry brush that hadn’t been burned in nearly 20 years initially hindered firefighters’ efforts.

Nine firefighters have suffered injuries including heat-related illnesses and ankle and shoulder injuries.

But , results have improved significantly, aided byn. Burned acreage stayed at . Nunez said officials expected warmer weather heading into the weekend, with more tropical weather to come on Sunday and Monday. Officials are still shooting for 100 percent containment of the fire by Sept. 13.

About 50 of the  were . Captain Don Slawson of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s said the residents can come and go through the canyon, but are barred from bringing visitors into the forest.

Authorities said it is unknown when the forest will be reopened to the public.The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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