LA-Area Blue Cut Wildfire Now 22% Contained, Still 36,000 Acres

1,600 firefighters are battling the blaze that's been burning since Tuesday.

— -- The nearly 1600 firefighters battling the Blue Cut wildfire east of Los Angeles in San Bernardino County made their biggest gain Thursday against the ferocious blaze: By Thursday night it was 22 percent contained, a sharp increase from a mere 4 percent containment at the start of the day, officials said.

But San Bernardino County fire officials also announced Thursday night that the fire's size had increased to 35,969 acres from about 31,000 acres earlier in the day.

The containment lines were established on the east side of the fire in an area where evacuees were already allowed to return Thursday afternoon, so there will unlikely be canceled evacuations, The AP reported.

More than 34,000 homes and 82,000 residents were under evacuation orders at one point during the blaze, which began Tuesday morning around 10:30 a.m. in the Cajon Pass in hot, gusty conditions near Interstate 15, officials said.

Many home have burned, but the exact number remains unclear.

No fire-related deaths have been reported so far.

On Thursday, local police said three people were arrested on suspicion of grand theft auto and looting for attempting to steal a flatbed truck and other items from a house that was evacuated.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said deputies responded to a call Thursday morning reporting three suspicious people, who told the deputies they were picking up property for the owner.

Deputies called the homeowner who told them he made no such request.