With red flag weather conditions looming, crews worked Tuesday in steep terrain to increase containment of a brush fire that burned about 40 acres and prompted temporary evacuations of 628 homes in Pacific Palisades.
As of 8 p.m., the fire, which broke out about 10:40 a.m. Monday near the 500 block of Palisades Drive, was 30% contained, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.
Multiple locations flared up during the day from smoldering debris within the burn area, but crews backed by water-dropping aircraft managed to increase containment from 10%, the LAFD reported.
Red flag conditions are expected on Thursday morning and are forecast to last until Friday evening, with winds between 10 and 25 mph and gusts up to 40 mph along with low relative humidity and high temperatures, according to LAFD spokesman Brian Humphrey.
“Tactical patrols will continue to be on the lookout to quickly extinguish any hot spots throughout the night,” he said.
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.
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, LAFD Capt. Cody Weireter said.
It was not known if the fire originated at a homeless encampment, he said.
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.
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