Hundreds of firefighters continued their efforts Tuesday to fully extinguish the La Tuna Fire, which has scorched nearly 7,200 acres of brush around the Verdugo Mountains since Friday and is now about 70 percent contained.
“We have an army of boots on the ground,” Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Erik Scott said at a mid-morning briefing on the blaze, which broke out Friday afternoon and forced the full shutdown of the Foothill (210) Freeway for two days.
LAFD officials said additional hand crews were being brought in to aid in the containment effort, while the number of engine companies was being scaled back. Scott noted that cooler temperatures and weekend rain coupled with lighter winds had aided in the firefighting effort, with containment up dramatically from 30 percent on Monday.
All mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders in Los Angeles, Glendale and Burbank were lifted as of Sunday night, which is also when the Foothill (210) Freeway was re-opened, along with on-ramps and off-ramps.
Four “soft closures” of roadways remain in effect, however, where only residents with identification will be allowed into neighborhoods, Scott said. They are in the following areas: Sunland Boulevard and Tuxford Street; La Tuna Canyon Road and Honolulu Avenue; Foothill Boulevard and Kagel Canyon Street: and Foothill Boulevard and Osborne Street.
The fire, which at one point threatened about 1,400 homes, has destroyed five homes and three outbuildings.
The cause of the blaze, described by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti as the biggest in the history of the city in terms of sheer acreage, remains under investigation, but officials said arson is not suspected.
Eight injuries were reported, including four firefighters and one civilian with heat-related illness, one firefighter with minor burns, one who suffered an allergic reaction and one civilian who suffered an eye injury. All have been treated and released, officials said.
On Sunday, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state emergency in Los Angeles County due to the fire. Los Angeles declared a local emergency Saturday and Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said the county would issue its state of emergency Tuesday, setting the stage for accessing state and federal disaster relief programs in an initial step toward helping the area recover.
—City News Service