A fast-moving brush fire in the Angeles National Forest scorched 240 acres Thursday afternoon near the Morris Dam north of Azusa, prompting evacuation orders for people in the area.
The fire was reported about 1:20 p.m. near the 9500 block of North San Gabriel Canyon Road, also called Highway 39, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department, which was assisting Angeles National Forest crews.
The blaze grew from about 25 acres to 240 acres in less than two hours, first forcing evacuations of campers in the West Fork area of the forest and soon other areas of the forest, according to the Glendora Police Department and the Angeles National Forest.
“This evacuation is not in a developed residential area but it’s in some of the recreation areas in the forest,” Marc Peebles of the Angeles National Forest told a CBS2 reporter at the scene late Thursday afternoon. “Essentially the evacuation area is on Highway 39, north here of Old San Gabriel Canyon Road.
“The Crystal Lake recreation area has been evacuated, the West Fork and East Fork recreation area has been evacuated, and it’s mainly visitors recreating in the forest,” he said. “There’s some … special use cabins up there, as well at the Coldbrook Campground and the San Gabriel off-highway vehicle staging area.”
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department warned residents along Highway 39 to prepare for evacuations.
About 250 Angeles National Forest firefighters and about 100 Los Angeles County firefighters were battling the blaze on the ground, with more than a dozen aircraft also working to quell the flames.
As of 4 p.m., the fire was 0% contained.
“It’s very, very steep rugged terrain. Some of it is near vertical, especially right off of Highway 39 here,” Peebles said. “It’s thick brush, it’s hot, it’s dry, it’s steep. We’ve got a little bit of breeze that you see, which is our typical canyon breeze that you see this time of afternoon. The fire doesn’t appear to be terribly wind-driven at this point; it’s mainly driven by slope and heat.”
VIVA Rescue, which specializes in rescuing horses, offered in a Twitter post to help evacuate animals — “equines, livestock and domestic pets” — from the forest. Anyone who needs the nonprofit’s help was encouraged to send a text to 310-808-5943.