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Big jump in containment on SF Bay Area wildfire

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TERENCE CHEA | September 10, 2013 10:14 AM EST | AP

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CLAYTON, Calif. — Fire officials say crews made considerable progress overnight against a wildfire in a San Francisco Bay Area wilderness park, more than doubling containment and reducing the number of threatened homes.

The fire in Mount Diablo State Park in Contra Costa County was 45 percent contained as of Tuesday morning, up from 20 percent the previous night. It has burned a little over 5 square miles.

That number was lowered from the previous day because of better mapping.

State fire spokesman Steve Kaufmann says 75 homes are now threatened, down from 100 homes.

He says the fire isn't showing much active behavior.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Firefighters were working to confine a wildfire within a San Francisco Bay Area wilderness park as it threatens about 100 homes and triggers a smoke advisory for three nearby counties.

The fire in Mount Diablo State Park in Contra Costa County, which began Sunday, nearly tripled in size to 3,718 acres or nearly 6 square miles Monday afternoon, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. It was 20 percent contained.

Officials said hot temperatures and wind gusts fueled the fire's spread. While crews managed to stop the fire's advance by Monday evening, they were bracing for more hot weather and 10- to 20 mph winds in the forecast for Tuesday.

About 100 homes remained evacuated.

The fire spewed a plume of smoke visible for miles. It was burning in steep, rugged terrain near Clayton, a town of about 11,000 people northeast of San Francisco, alongside the park.

Some 800 firefighters, aided by two air tankers and three water-dropping helicopters, were battling the blaze. Three of them suffered minor injuries.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District issued a smoke advisory Monday for parts of Contra Costa, Alameda and Santa Clara counties. Residents were advised to take precautions, including setting air conditioning units and car vent systems to recirculate.

Elderly people, children and those with respiratory illnesses were told to be particularly careful.