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Evacuations Lifted as Calabasas-Topanga Fire is 80% contained.

Calabasas High School and other LVUSD Schools Will be OPEN tomorrow

 

Update: At a 5 PM press conference, LA County Fire announced that residents will be allowed to return to their homes at 6 PM.

400 Firemen declared victory over a fire near Topanga, as the weather turned cooler and 5,000 evacuees were allowed to return. Topanga Canyon Blvd is now open to traffic.

Residents said the hills has sharp lines distinguishing burned areas from unburned areas. "The footage is amazing. Acres of charred hills ending right at the edges of the residential areas. Very exact planning," said one Calabasas woman.

All schools will be in session tomorrow, says the Las Virgenes Unified School District website. "We recommend that parents leave extra early for drop off to avoid traffic delays." This will include Calabasas High School, Alice C. Stelle Middle School, and Chaparral Elementary School. All three schools will be open, as will all LAUSD schools.

"All schools will be in session tomorrow. We recommend that parents leave extra early for drop off to avoid traffic delays." says http://www.LVUSD.ORG. The last day of school is Wednesday, June 8, 2016.

The fire has already consumed 516 acres, Los Angeles County Deputy Fire Chief John Tripp said, adding that as of Sunday afternoon, the fire has been surrounded and is 75% contained.

Amazingly, only one structure was destroyed and no homes were damaged. (some sources say 2 homes were also damaged). Some firemen will remain in the burn areas for a week.

Horses, chickens and birds brought to Pierce college were being gradually picked up. The college appealed to the public for hay to feed the horses that remain.

"I was impressed that the evacuation orders provided safe locations for animals as well as humans," said one local resident. "About 90 horses were taken in by the stables at Pierce Community College here in Woodland Hills, along with some goats and other large animals, while the Agoura Animal Shelter took in the smaller four-footed family members."

It began Saturday afternoon in Calabasas -- a relatively affluent part of Los Angeles County that is home to 1000s including celebrities Ellen Degeneres, Jessica Simpson and Toni Braxton.

The fire has destroyed a school building and damaged two homes, he said. It started around 4:15 p.m. PT Saturday when an SUV crashed into a power pole on Mulholland Highway in Calabasas. "Witnesses reported that the truck was traveling at a high rate of speed before colliding into a power pole, causing the pole to fall and a transformer to explode, thus igniting the Calabasas fire," Deputy Jeffrey A. Gordon said.

Temperatures in nearby Topanga reached the mid-90s earlier in the day, according to the National Weather Service.

The fire has been dubbed the "Old Fire" due to its proximity to Old Topanga Canyon Road. It came right up to the edges of Calabasas High School and Viewpoint School.

On Sunday morning, authorities lifted the evacuation order for Calabasas, but Topanga residents should stay away, officials said. Zone 4 is now under evacuation.

About 400 firefighters, along with water-dropping helicopters, are trying to contain the blaze, Tripp said. "The fire is not on the road, it is halfway up the side of a mountain," Tripp said. "That's why we can't let people back in their homes."

He said three firefighters were injured. Two suffered knee injuries, and one had a "cardiac event. This is extremely arduous work for them to do," Tripp said.

Steve Gentry, a photojournalist who filmed the firefighters, told CNN the situation was "very serious."

"At one point, the fire was licking right up through to the backyards of a lot of the homes of the residents in that area, to the point where even sheriffs' deputies were grabbing garden hoses and using them to fight the fire," he said.

"Things here in California, they're very dry and it doesn't take a whole lot for a fire to get going and spread really rapidly."

Pictures of the blaze show residents staring at bright, tall flames creeping toward the sky, visible from nearby streets.

Roseann Bleiweiss' son told CNN the fire looked like "something out of a movie."

One social media user said ash could be spotted as far away as Dodger Stadium, about 30 miles away.

Celebrities also spoke out about the fire.

Ellen DeGeneres tweeted that her brother-in-law was out fighting the blaze.

"Sending thanks to Portia's brother Michael & all the rescue workers on the scene of this dangerous fire," she said.

"Sending thanks to Portia's brother Michael & all the rescue workers on the scene of this dangerous fire in Calabasas," tweeted Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) 9:41 PM - 4 Jun 2016

Calabasas and the nearby Santa Monica Mountains are no stranger to wildfires -- the area has experienced many dangerous blazes over the years.

A particularly strong fire in 2013 burned nearly 28,000 acres in two days, threatening thousands of homes in Ventura County.

But relief may be on the horizon for this fire. More wind will help bring up humidity from the coast, which will help firefighters.

 

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