Palisades Brush Fire Rages as Authorities Seek Arson Suspect – NBC Los Angeles

on May16
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Mandatory evacuation orders affecting about 1,000 people were in effect Sunday as firefighters continued to battle a raging brush fire in the Pacific Palisades and Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies searched for a person suspected of setting the blaze. 

There was zero containment of the Palisades Fire as of Sunday morning, but the Los Angeles Fire Department said updated figures were expected later in the day. 

The weather remained cool and moist overnight which led to calmer fire activity. However, conditions were expected to change as the vegetation in the area is very dry and has not burned in more than 50 years, according to the LAFD’s Margaret Stewart. 

Onshore winds expected to pick up in the afternoon could push the fire in the northwest direction and resources were in place for any structural defense required, Stewart added. The fire ignited in a remote area off Michael Lane and Palisades Court around 10 p.m. Friday, according to Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Nicholas Prange. 

Evacuations were ordered in two areas both in the county of Los Angeles, but not in the city, according to Los Angeles County Fire Department officials. 

Zone 4 is everyone east of Topanga Canyon Boulevard between the Community House and View Ridge Road, and Zone 6 is everyone north of Entrada, south of Oakwood Drive and east of the Henry Ridge Motorway. Large animals can be taken to Pierce College Equestrian Center, at 6201 Winnetka Ave. in Woodland Hills. Small animals can be taken to the Agoura Animal Care Center, 29525 Agoura Hills Road in Agoura. 

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department continues to search for a person suspected of setting the brush fire, said Deputy Alejandra Parra. 

“Members of the sheriff’s Special Enforcement Bureau were searching for a person Saturday suspected of setting a brush fire that has now scorched about 750 acres and was flaring up in Pacific Palisades,” Parra told NBC4. 

Data shows air improved when traffic was low. Lolita Lopez reports for the NBC4 News on Wednesday, April 7, 2021.

Meanwhile, air quality officials issued a smoke advisory through at least Sunday afternoon due to large amounts of smoke billowing near homes in the area and advised those who smell smoke or see ash to limit exposure by remaining indoors with windows and doors closed and avoiding vigorous physical activity. 

Stewart said Saturday that there were three burn areas, “the main fire, the original fire…and a small spot fire.” The terrain is very steep and extremely difficult to navigate, she said. “Dozers are working to improve access for firefighters on the ground but much of the area remains inaccessible. This is primarily an air-based operation with both fixed wing and rotary working together.”

Los Angeles County fire officials reported that after the marine layer blew in, the visibility became too poor for fixed-wing aircraft, which had been productive. Helicopters continued to make water drops and the tankers previously succeeded at dropping retardant across the Topanga Fire Road to south along the left flank. 

“The state parks are closing trails in the area because it is unsafe for hikers but cannot clear everyone due to the vast area involved,” Stewart said. 

Engineers have developed a seed-scattering drone to help reforest areas ravaged by wildfires.

Topanga Canyon Boulevard was closed between Mulholland Drive and Pacific Coast Highway due to firefighting activity, according to Malibu Emergency Services, which noted there was no threat to Malibu though the large plume of smoke was visible. 

The threatened area of land to the west is within the State Responsibility Area, so the LA County Fire Department was involved in a unified command with the Los Angeles Fire Department and Cal Fire. 

No structures have been damaged and no injuries have been reported, Stewart said.

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