Cooler Weather Helps Calif. Fire Crews

BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif. (AP) -- The massive blaze creeping toward this mountain resort town came to a standstill Saturday, prompting fire officials to let many residents return home.

``It's lying there right now not doing anything,'' Big Bear City Fire Chief Dana VanLuven said. ``The threat is still very real, but we are confident we can hold it off.''

Residents of Big Bear Valley were given the go-ahead to return home starting Sunday morning, VanLuven said. Residents in the Lake Arrowhead area, roughly 20 miles west, already had begun returning.

Light snow and cooler temperatures aided firefighters, who raced to bulldoze firebreaks around communities in the San Bernardino Mountains to prepare for hot, dry winds they expected within days. Work along the south side of the lake, however, was suspended because of concerns about archaeological and sensitive plant sites.

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