Wildfires have raged across the US West, forcing thousands to flee their homes during a sweltering, smoke-shrouded holiday weekend of record heat. However, drizzle and easing temperatures have helped more than 1,000 firefighters to gain the upper hand in battling the La Tuna fire – the largest in Los Angeles history.

La Tuna Fire Los Angeles
The La Tuna fire burns above downtown BurbankRobyn Beck/AFP
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Residents evacuate from their homes with their pets and belongingsDavid McNew/Getty Images

Officials warn that danger remains: "We've turned the corner, but this is not over," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told reporters. "With winds this strong, anything can happen." Shifting winds could cause burning embers to spread the fire once more through the rugged northern edge of Los Angeles, he said.

The wildfire is the largest in terms of acreage in the city's history, Garcetti said. It was considered 30 percent contained by late Sunday night, up from 10 percent Sunday morning. The nearly 5,900-acre (2400-hectare) La Tuna Fire, named after the canyon area where it erupted, has destroyed three homes and damaged one. More than 700 homes were evacuated as the blaze tore through thick brush that has not burned in decades.

Temperatures in the area have hovered around 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) in recent days. But the mercury was in the low 90s on Sunday, and the temperatures are expected to be moderate and the humidity higher in the coming days, positive signs for containing the fire, said Los Angeles Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas.

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Bonnie Murphy is able to evacuate her horses with the help of neighbour Bill Ray Orme who lent her his horse transport as the La Tuna Fire covers the Shadow Hills neighbourhood of Los AngelesRobyn Beck/AFP
La Tuna Fire Los Angeles
Fire trucks wait to depart into the hillsides during La Tuna Canyon fire over BurbankKyle Grillot/Reuters
La Tuna Fire Los Angeles
Water is dropped above homes in Sun Valley during the La Tuna Canyon fireKyle Grillot/Reuters
La Tuna Fire Los Angeles
Locals watch as flames encroach on a residence during the La Tuna Canyon fireKyle Grillot/Reuters
La Tuna Fire Los Angeles
A tanker drops fire retardant on the La Tuna Canyon fireKyle Grillot/Reuters
La Tuna Fire Los Angeles
The moon rises over scorched hills from the La Tuna fire in Los AngelesRonen Tivony/NurPhoto
La Tuna Fire Los Angeles
A Super Scooper CL-415 firefighting aircraft from Canada makes a drop to protect a house during the La Tuna Fire on September 3, 2017 near BurbankDavid McNew/Getty Images
La Tuna Fire Los Angeles
A burn-out truck is seen after the La Tuna Fire raged near BurbankDavid McNew/Getty Images
La Tuna Fire Los Angeles
The La Tuna fire burns above downtown BurbankRobyn Beck/AFP
La Tuna Fire Los Angeles
A firefighter climbs a burning hillside after having fallen into a hole fighting while the La Tuna FireDavid McNew/Getty Images
La Tuna Fire Los Angeles
A firefighter fights flames in chaparral brush using only a hand toolDavid McNew/Getty Images
La Tuna Fire Los Angeles
The 210 freeway remains closed as flames continue to spread at the La Tuna Fire near BurbankDavid McNew/Getty Images
La Tuna Fire Los Angeles
The La Tuna fire burns along the 210 freeway in Los AngelesRobyn Beck/AFP
La Tuna Fire Los Angeles
A fire fighting team from the California Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority pull hoses up a steep hill off the 210 freewayRobyn Beck/AFP
La Tuna Fire Los Angeles
An Erickson Air Crane firefighting helicopter drops water over the La Tuna FireDavid McNew/Getty Images
La Tuna Fire Los Angeles
The 210 freeway remains closed to all but emergency traffic during the La Tuna FireDavid McNew/Getty Images
La Tuna Fire Los Angeles
Local resident Ruben Garibyan watches the approach of flames from the La Tuna Fire from his balcony in the Shadow Hills neighbourhood of Los AngelesRobyn Beck/AFP
La Tuna Fire Los Angeles
A man watches to see if his house and two of his cats, on the other side of thick smoke and flames, are safeDavid McNew/Getty Images
La Tuna Fire Los Angeles
A DC-10 drops fire retardant on the La Tuna fire in BurbankGenaro Molina/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
La Tuna Fire Los Angeles
The La Tuna Canyon fire burns in the hills above Burbank, CaliforniaRobyn Beck/AFP

Fires caused evacuations in Glacier National Park in Montana and many other parts of the West; compelled crews to rescue about 140 hikers who had spent the night in the woods after fire broke out along the popular Columbia River Gorge Trail in Oregon; and led firefighters to step up efforts to protect a 2,700-year-old grove of giant sequoia encroached by flames near Yosemite National Park in California.

The high at Los Angeles International Airport reached 97 degrees Fahrenheit (36 degrees Celsius) on Sunday, topping the previous mark of 92 (33 Celsius), set in 1982. Records were also set in parts of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, where the temperature hit 101 degrees (38 Celsius). San Francisco residents, meanwhile, stifled under a third day of a rare heat wave in the coastal city, with record highs in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 100s Fahrenheit (high 30s Celsius).