A brush fire in California, which sent smoky plumes into the sky above Los Angeles County as it continued to burn Sunday, has forced the evacuation of more than 500 homes, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said.
The blaze, named the Palisades fire, started Saturday. It had burned 750 acres in western Los Angeles County and was at zero percent containment Saturday evening, the Fire Department said. By Sunday, the fire had spread to 835 acres and was still at zero percent containment, the department said. The evacuation orders remained in place.
The cause of the fire was “deemed to be a ‘suspicious start,’ and it remains an open, active investigation,” the department said. There were no reports of injuries or damaged structures.
Homes in two zones were ordered to evacuate. Large animals were offered shelter at the Los Angeles Pierce College Equine Science Center in Woodland Hills, and small animals were able to go to the Agoura Animal Care Center in Agoura, Los Angeles Animal Care and Control said.
The Fire Department said in a statement that “cool and moist” overnight weather led to “calmer fire activity” but that as it warmed up Sunday, conditions were expected to worsen, as “the vegetation in this area is very dry and has not burned in 50+ years.”
Onshore winds, which could push the fire northwest, were expected to increase Sunday afternoon, and “resources are in place for any structural defense required,” the department said.
Firefighters were on the ground “in the difficult terrain” working to dig lines in the ground to stop the spread of the fire, and helicopters were dropping water, the department said. An earlier statement described the terrain as “very steep and extremely difficult to navigate, which hinders ground-based firefighting operations.”
The mandatory evacuation order covered about 500 homes and affected about 1,000 people, said Capt. Erik Scott, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District, the air pollution control agency for the area, issued a smoke advisory through Sunday afternoon for portions of central Los Angeles, northwest coastal Los Angeles County, the western San Fernando Valley and the eastern San Fernando Valley.
The agency said that winds near the fire were expected to push smoke east into Topanga State Park through Sunday afternoon and that “meteorological conditions will bring smoke and ash into portions of Los Angeles County, with localized impacts near the Palisades Fire.”