Firefighters attack huge California wildfire by air, ground

Air tankers bombarded rugged slopes with fire retardant Thursday and a squadron of helicopters dropped load after load of water to corral a destructive wildfire threatening mountain homes 60 miles east of Los Angeles.

On the ground, firefighters and bulldozers worked to protect the ski town of Wrightwood and other areas high in the San Gabriel Mountains.

Authorities estimated that only half the 4,500 residents of Wrightwood heeded evacuation orders.

The fire has blackened more than 49 square miles and was just 4 percent contained, with more than 34,000 homes and some 82,000 residents still under evacuation warnings three days after it erupted in hot, gusty...