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Brush fire burns homes on the Palos Verdes Peninsula; blaze above La Canada Flintridge takes turn for worse [Updated]

August 27, 2009 | 10:16 pm


Dry, hot conditions fueled three major brush fires Thursday night, including one on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, seen above, that damaged several homes and a second blaze in La Canada Flintridge that was moving closer to homes.

The Palos Verdes Peninsula fire broke out about 8 p.m. and prompted evacuations around Portuguese Bend and other areas. Television news footage showed it burning through a wildlife area and uphill toward Rolling Hills.  The fire had burned at least 75 acres.

[Updated at 10:35 p.m.: The evacuations were in the neighborhoods on Portuguese Bend Road, Amber Sky Drive and Crest Road, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said. More than 250 firefighters, aided by five water-dropping helicopters, are battling the blaze in thick, dry vegetation on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. An evacuation center has been set up at Palos Verdes Verde Peninsula High School, 27118 Silver Spur Road. A center has also been set up for animals at Ernie J. Howlett Park, 25851 Hawthorne Blvd.]

[Updated at 11:29 p.m.: At the entrance to the Portuguese Bend gated community, residents shooed away gawkers and kept roads clear for fire vehicles. On the ocean side of Palos Verdes Drive, spectator Kim Francis checked in on some of her friends.

 “I’ve never seen so many people. It’s like the whole community is out here,” Francis said. “We’re keeping our fingers crossed that we don’t lose any homes or any people or any animals. It’s just so beautiful.” 

Resident Lew Enstedt, 51, a musician, watched as aircraft dumped water on the flames late Thursday night. “It’s burning pretty good,” he said. Enstedt said he and his wife had not yet decided to evacuate. “They’re dropping water, it seems like there’s a lot of resources up there.” He and wife evacuated in the face of fire in 2005. He said he took his music recordings and computer files, while his wife took their four cats.]

A brush fire above La Cañada Flintridge was moving down a canyon area toward Angeles Crest Highway on Thursday night.

The Station fire has prompted authorities to begin evacuation residents in La Cañada Flintridge neighborhoods near Angeles Crest Highway. The evacuations were underway along Vista del Valle Road east of La Cañada Boulevard, the U.S. Forest Service said.

An evacuation center has been set up at La Crescenta High School.

The blaze, which has consumed more than 500 acres of dry chaparral, reversed direction along one flank and turned toward residential areas earlier today.

The Station fire in the Angeles National Forest had grown from 350 acres earlier in the day to more than 500 acres, the U.S. Forest Service said.

"The fire is making a run. It's spreading fast," said Forest Service spokeswoman Dianne Cahir.

She said officials were considering evacuations in areas below the blaze, which are about two miles from the fire front. The blaze was still threatening the Angeles Crest Ranger Station.


The fire had been burning toward the north in unpopulated areas, but one flank changed and reversed direction.

In Riverside County, a fire has scorched 400 acres near Hemet, but does not appear to be threatening structures, officials said. 

[Updated at 11:38 p.m.: An earlier version of this post gave an incorrect address for Ernie J. Howlett Park.]


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--Robert J. Lopez, with Seema Mehta in Palos Verdes Peninsula and Richard Winton in La Canada Flintridge


Photo credit: TOP: Fire in Palos Verdes Peninsula.  Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times 

BOTTOM: Fire north of La Canada Flintridge. Richard Winton / Los Angeles Times