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Brush Fire in Calabasas (Mulholland Heights), West Hills Cause Mandatory Evacuations

Fire 30% contained Sunday Morning; 3 firemen injured and 2 homes damaged.

 

LA County Fire

Firehawk helicopter dropping 1000 gallons of water from Calabasas Reservoir, on the Old Fire.

Latest update: http://www.smobserved.com/story/2016/06/05/news/all-evacuations-lifted-as-clabasas-topanga-fire-is-80-contained/1363.html

Update, Sunday 6/5, 1:15 PM: Thousands of residents of Calabasas have been evacuated, and officials have asked them not to return yet due to the possibility of flareups. The fire has now consumed 525 acres of hilltops and burned several structures. Topanga has not been evacuated, as it is in Zone 1, but residents have been told to prepare to evacuate.

Saturday, 6/4: On a hot June afternoon in Calabasas, an SUV hit a power pole. The collision brought live power lines down in several places and touched off two brush fires in the dry Calabasas hills. As of Sunday morning, the fires had burned 500 acres.

The first fire broke out before 5 PM near Calabasas High School in an area called Calabasas Heights, not far from Gelson's. The fire burned very close to homes near Mulholland Highway and Topanga Canyon Road. About 300 local residents were ordered to evacuate. Multiple Firehawk helicopters water dropped 1000 gallons at a time on the Calabasas Hills.

The second fire burned near Mulholland and Topanga Canyon Blvd, where a resident reported columns of smoke. She sent us 2 of the photos posted along with this story. She said Charter Internet has been out since 4:30 PM, and the electricity briefly dimmed, then came back on. Her neighbors received a call from the Fire Dept. telling them to be prepared to evacuate.

The fires converged into one 200 acre blaze named "The Old Fire." Residents at the top of the hills have evacuated themselves and their animals. Thousands of people are on the streets of Woodland Hills, watching the fires burn. Water dropping helicopters were in the air, and more than 200 firefighters were engaged.

A propane tank exploded into flames in front of Calabasas Klubhouse Pre-School, located at 3655 Old Topanga Canyon Road. As the heat from the fire closed in on the building, a battalion of firefighters were keeping the fire away from the preschool.

Update, 8:26 PST: The West Hills Fire is now reported as extinguished. What is now being called "The OldFire" burning in Calabasas, had burned 200 acres. Firemen are focused on it.

Update, 9:00 AM Sunday: The Old Fire is reported as 30% contained, and has burned over 500 acres, an area larger than UCLA. 3 LA County Firemen have been injured, and 2 homes are known to be damaged.

"The Firehawk helicopters are flying very low, practically clipping the tops of the trees here," said our correspondent on Topanga Canyon Blvd south of Mulholland. "Seriously, they are wave at the pilot type low. I assume they are looking for outliers (i.e. stray remaining fires."

The temperature was 101 degrees F, and at 6 PM it was still 85 degrees in Woodland Hills. By 9 PM, the marine layer rolled in and air temps dropped to 75 degrees, helping about 200 firefighters working the fire.

Firefighters claimed substantial progress by sunrise Sunday Morning. But the evacuations were still in effect. The town of Topanga was under voluntary evacuation order, and Topanga Canyon Blvd was closed North of PCH.

The City of Calabasas did a "reverse 911 call" to warn residents of Bluebird Canyon Road to be prepared to evacuate themselves and their pets, should a mandatory evacuation be necessary.

Los Angeles County Fire Dept. ordered mandatory evacuations of Eddingham Ave and Adamsville Ave in Highlands. Those living within 2 miles of Calabasas high school are advised to leave the area if they can due to flareups. Firemen say about 3000 people took their advice and left the neighborhood. Old Topanga Cyn Road was under a mandatory evacuation until 8 AM, while Topanga itself was under a voluntary evacuation order.

Southern California Edison reported 681 people without power. SCE Spokesman David Song said a few thousand SoCal Edison customers experienced power outages after the car slammed into power. But by 7 p.m., less than 200 were experiencing outages. Song said power would be fully restored by 12:30 a.m. tomorrow morning.

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The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Lost Hills Station was in charge of evacuations. Residents were being evacuated to Agoura High School at 28545 West Driver Avenue. Anyone with large animal was asked to evacuate to Los Angeles Pierce College at 6201 Winnetka Avenue in Woodland Hills.

Ash fell across the San Fernando valley, and as far away as Pasadena (36 miles from Calabasas). The fire was 0% contained, five hours after it began.

Agencies working the fire included the LA County Fire Department, the City of Los Angeles Fire Dept., the LA County Sheriff's Dept., and the California Highway Patrol. The Santa Monica Fire Department was also on scene, said SMFD Public Information Officer Dale Hallock:

A map of the fire and evacuation zones

Today, June 4, 2016, Santa Monica Firefighters answered a request from Los Angeles County Fire Department for Mutual Aid to assist with the battle against the Old Fire. The Fire began today at approximately 4:30 PM, after a day of extremely warm temperatures. Santa Monica Firefighters responded with a team comprised of Firefighters from Santa Monica, Beverley Hills, and Culver City. Santa Monica Fire Department belongs to a Statewide system, that facilitates "Mutual Aid". Fire Departments offer "Aid" to their neighbors, and in turn have help available to them when emergencies overwhelm their resources. At last check the Team had been assigned to structure protection in the area of Calabasas High School. See attached Photos.

Another fire was reported in Temecula. It is 35 acres in size, and has closed the 15 freeway. Southern California is in the 5th year of a drought, which along with the heat, complicates conditions for fire fighters.

 

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