Shadow Hills fire burns in the footprint of LA’s biggest fire in half a century

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Firefighters from five agencies in the Los Angeles area continue to battle a 107-acre wildfire that broke out in Shadow Hills Wednesday afternoon.

The fire, first reported shortly after 1 p.m. on approximately 5 acres, burned in light-to-medium shrubbery near 10018 N. Sunland Way, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. The fire moved uphill, propelled by winds of about 8 mph.

By 3:45 p.m., the fire had grown to its current size of 107 hectares.

Captain Erik Scott, a spokesman for the fire service, told The Times around 5:30 p.m. that all progress of the fire had stopped, but the crew was “not out of the woods”.

Firefighters continued to put out flames within the fire zone and improve containment lines, Scott said.

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The fire was 40% under control.

The fire is burning in very rugged, remote and steep terrain, Scott said. Fire crews have to walk about three-quarters of a mile to get to the fire, and staff reported persistent hot spots along the edge of the fire.

Despite the challenges, the fact that the fire is burning in the footprint of the 2017 La Tuna fire, the largest fire in the city in half a century at 7,194 hectares, has helped to keep it under control.

“That means the vegetation and fuel we’re dealing with isn’t a tall, thick, green bush,” Scott said. “If this had burned beyond that footprint, this would have been a whole different story.”

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The 2017 fire destroyed five homes and evicted more than 300 homes. Wednesday’s fire, on the other hand, did not threaten any homes, inflicted any injuries on firefighters or civilians, and did not endanger any pets or other pets.

“We hit this fire very hard and very quickly with five agencies,” Scott said. “We are not messing with wildfires in this heat. We’re working on stamping them out while they’re small. The fact that today’s fire was in a previous footprint helped our efforts immensely.”

About 120 LAFD employees were working on the fire Wednesday night, he said. Firefighters from LA County, Glendale, and Burbank Fire Departments, as well as the Angeles National Forest, also participated.

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The ground crew was supplemented with fire-fighting planes, Scott said.

The fire serves as a reminder to anyone living in a brush area to take the following precautions: be well acquainted with the Ready, Set, Go program; perform brush clearing to give firefighters defensible space to save homes; and harden their houses of embers, he said.

“This will be a comprehensive operation to achieve complete containment and mop,” said a LAFD warning sent Wednesday evening.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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