LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Fire Department ordered mandatory evacuations Monday as a fire ripped across a hillside in the affluent Pacific Palisades area, threatening multimillion-dollar homes.
“This is due to both potential fire and smoke behavior” and the pending arrival of large aircraft dropping fire retardant, LAFD said in a news release.
The fire began around 10:30 a.m. PST, quickly moving uphill and burning more than 30 acres of brush, LAFD said. About 200 homes within eight residential blocks were under threat from the flames, said LAFD Chief Patrick Butler during a press conference.
There are no reports of injuries or damaged structures, Butler said, and the cause of the fire is unknown.
Firefighters were clawing their way up the hillside
More than 150 personnel from the LAFD were battling the fire. Six hand crews from the Los Angeles County Fire Department were also lending a hand and plan to be in the hills of Palisades all night, Butler said.
The fire is not threatening Los Angeles County residents and there is no reason to evacuate LA County, County Fire Chief Anthony Marrone said.
Helicopters were seen releasing numerous and precise water drops and fire retardants on the flames. Firefighters along an extremely steep ridge below multimillion-dollar homes were also seen using hoses and cutting paths to stop the fire’s progress.
“This is an extremely challenging fire for hand crews,” Butler said. “If you look at the firefighters, they’re essentially clawing up this hillside with rocks coming down on them.”
‘You can’t predict what Mother Nature is going to do’
Charlie Lyons said he was hiking Monday morning when he noticed the plumes of smoke.
“You go into denial immediately, saying, ‘I hope it’s not what I think it is,'” he said, adding that this was the second time in three weeks he’s seen fire in the hills of Palisades. “We’re in a terrible cycle right now.”
His daughter, also named Charlie, told CNN she feared for the worst.
“I immediately started packing my stuff, my valuables,” said Charlie Lyons, 22. “My friend last year lost her house in Malibu. You can’t predict what Mother Nature is going to do.”
Fire officials say this is a terrain-driven fire, not wind-driven.