Brush Fire in Brentwood 70 Percent Contained at About 55 Acres; Cause Appears Accidental

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A brush fire in Brentwood that sent plumes of smoke into the air Sunday afternoon is 70 percent contained at about 55 acres, officials said.

Investigators believe the cause of the blaze was accidental when a weed abatement tool apparently sparked the flames.

Bicyclists watch flames in a 20-acre brush fire in Brentwood on May 28, 2017. (Credit: Troy Paul)

The fire was first reported around 12:45 p.m. along the 2000 block of North Mandeville Canyon Road with a large amount of smoke rising from the area visible for miles, the Los Angeles Fire Department said in an alert.

The blaze, dubbed the Mandeville Fire, could be seen from nearby Getty Center, which remained open Sunday, the Los Angeles Times reported.

By about 1:10 p.m. the blaze had grown from a quarter-acre to approximately 6 to 8 acres in size, the agency said, and later grew to about 30 acres.

Mandeville Canyon Road was closed at Sunset Boulevard and officials did not have an estimated time for when the road will reopen.

The fire was near residential areas and five homes were briefly evacuated. Residents were allowed to return home about 3:30 p.m.

A helicopter was making water drops on the blaze and Los Angeles County Fire Department firefighters were also assisting.

Nearly 160 firefighters were on scene as the flames moved uphill through heavy brush, but officials said the high humidity was causing the blaze to move slowly. Winds were estimated to be moving at a rate of 5 to 10 mph.

“We’ve had a lot of historical burns in the Mandeville Canyon area. The terrain is very steep and very rugged," LAFD Capt. Trevor Richmond told KTLA. “When we heard we had a brush fire here, we threw everything we could at it right away.”

Despite the earlier evacuations, officials said no structures were being threatened. No damages or injuries were reported, according to LAFD.

Los Angeles Councilman Mike Bonin also responded to the area and said residents were “lucky” the fire department responded swiftly.

“The threat of a fire in this neighborhood is my nightmare scenario,” Bonin said. “This is a great test and dry run for the LAFD for the coming fire season because this is a place where you always have to be on guard.”

Firefighters are expected to remain at the scene for the next 36 hours while the blaze is still "active," officials said. It is expected to be fully contained by later Sunday or Monday morning.

A private company working in the area was using the brush-clearing device to clear brush from around homes when the muffler overheated, LAFD Battalion Chief Mike Castillo told the Times.

Officials ask residents to avoid brush clearance during peak heat hours and to avoid the use of metal-bladed equipment that can cause sparks. LAFD authorities also ask residents to keep a fire extinguisher or garden hose available if a spark creates flames.

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