Firefighters continued efforts Tuesday to fully extinguish a brush fire in Pacific Palisades that scorched about 40 acres and prompted temporary evacuations of 628 homes that were threatened by the blaze.
As of about noon Tuesday, the fire that was reported about 10:40 a.m. Monday near the 500 block of Palisades Drive was listed at 10% contained, with 320 firefighting personnel from various agencies working to douse the flames, the Los Angeles Fire Department reported.
Officials reported that one civilian was taken to a hospital with respiratory issues. One first responder, reported by one media outlet to be an inmate firefighter, was also taken to a hospital after being overcome by the heat on Monday. No homes were destroyed or seriously damaged, LAFD spokesman Brian Humphrey said.
Mandatory evacuation orders were issued Monday afternoon for an area between Charmel Lane and Bienveneda Avenue, from Lachman Lane on the north to Merivale Lane on the south. Those orders were lifted about 8 p.m.
“We are pleased to note that first responders worked tirelessly to get evacuated residents promptly back into their homes within the same day,” Humphrey said in a statement.
“With intermittent wind gusts and very low humidity, firefighters will continue working through the day (Tuesday) in very steep, cliff-like terrain to ensure flames do not move past control lines,” Humphrey said. “Tactical patrols will be on the lookout for smoldering hot spots, so as to respond to any increase in fire activity.”
Firefighters have been wary of anticipated Santa Ana winds that are expected to begin as early as Wednesday night and continue through Friday, Humphrey said.
When it broke out Monday, the fire was driven uphill by the terrain. Fire officials noted that winds were calm in the area, even as blustery conditions prevailed in other parts of the Southland. Crews in water-dropping helicopters helped attack the flames in the difficult-to-access hillside area, and fire officials also called in a pair of fixed-wing Super Scooper aircraft.
“This is an extremely challenging fire for hand crews,” LAFD Capt. Cody Weireter said at a media briefing Monday afternoon. “If you look at the firefighters, they’re essentially clawing their way up this hillside with rocks coming down on them.”
There was no immediate word on a possible cause of the fire, Weireter said. He said it was not known if the fire originated at a homeless encampment.
Weireter said the blaze started at the base of Palisades Drive and burned through about 18 acres within 15 minutes.
Humphrey praised residents for their diligence in following firefighters’ instructions.
“We appreciate the community’s cooperation following direction from public safety personnel,” Humphrey said. “We respectfully request residents drive cautiously, as emergency workers and large fire equipment moves through our communities over the next few days. Please be aware of falling debris and rolling rocks from nearby hillsides.”