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/Hillside brush fire in Los Angeles threatens affluent Pacific Palisades homes, forces evacuations

Hillside brush fire in Los Angeles threatens affluent Pacific Palisades homes, forces evacuations


Firefighters are wrestling with a brush fire burning in a Los Angeles hillside and threatening multimillion-dollar homes. 

The Los Angeles Fire Department ordered 200 residences to evacuate shortly after the wildfire broke out Monday morning in the affluent Pacific Palisades neighborhood. 

Aircraft dropped water and flame retardant in hopes of protecting homes, as well as a state wilderness park nearby. Crews saved at least six houses in the neighborhood west of downtown Los Angeles, said LAFD spokesman Brian Humphrey.

“Thankfully no homes have suffered serious damage,” Humphrey said, crediting a lack of wind and compliance with brush clearing rules.

About 40 acres had burned, LAFD Assistant Chief Patrick Butler said at an afternoon press conference. Two injuries have been reported: one firefighter with minor injuries and a civilian with moderate respiratory distress, he said. 

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Warm, dry winds are forecast to pick up on Tuesday, the National Weather Service said. Notorious for driving Southern California wildfires such as the Thomas Fire, Santa Ana winds dry out vegetation, creating prime fuel.  

“This could be one of our most critical weeks of the fall season for fire weather due to very warm temperatures and bouts of Santa Ana winds,” the service in a statement.

In Northern California, weather conditions prompted Pacific Gas and Electric Company to begin notifying 209,000 customers of potential power shutoffs Wednesday evening. Affecting counties in the Sierra Foothills and the Northern San Francisco Bay area, the utility said it will communicate the wildfire safety shutoff more clearly than it did two weeks ago. 

Firefighters expect to be fighting the Palisades Fire for at least another 48 hours, Butler said. Officials opened one evacuation center Monday afternoon in Pacific Palisades. 

Paula Griffin, 58, told the Los Angeles Times she rushed back to her home in Palisades to save her cats once she heard about the fire. She said she has evacuated three times in the last few weeks because of wildfire risk. 

“You get used to knowing you’ve got your animals and your own life … everything else can be replaced,” she told the newspaper. 

The cause of the blaze is under investigation. Heavy debris and rocks falling from the area of origin is complicating the search for clues, Butler said. 

Contributing: The Associated Press

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