Lightning Prompts Closure of Several L.A. County Beaches, Possibly Sparks Brush Fire in Encino

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All Los Angeles County beaches have been reopened Wednesday afternoon after a threat of lightning from a summer storm prompted closures and evacuations earlier in the day.

The first evacuation was issued at beaches in Santa Monica, where beachgoers were urged shortly before noon to seek indoor cover at the nearby pier shortly before noon as the storm moved into the coastal area, according to a tweet from the city.

A short time after that, a lightning advisory was issued for all L.A. County beaches between Malibu and Zuma, according to a tweet from the county's Fire Department Lifeguards.

At one point, the closure stretched from Dockweiler to the south, to Nicholas Canyon in the north, L.A. County Lifeguards Capt. AJ Lester told KTLA.

But by 1:30 p.m., all Malibu beaches were open again, officials said; the remaining county beaches were reopened within 45 minutes of that as the advisory was lifted.

Meanwhile, lightning was also possibly responsible for igniting a small brush fire in Encino, according to a Los Angeles Fire Department alert.

The brush fire erupted in the 16000 block of Encino Hills Drive shortly after 11:30 a.m., the alert stated. It burned about a quarter of an acre as firefighters worked on the ground to get a handle on it.

Aircraft would not be assisting in the firefight because of lightning in the area, the agency added.

The department did not immediately issue an update about the blaze.

The unusual summer weather occurred amid forecasts from the National Weather Service's Los Angeles office calling for a cluster of thunderstorms to hit the area from West Hollywood to Santa Monica late Wednesday morning.

The system then headed west, toward Topanga and Malibu.

By 12:20 p.m., the storm was moving west from Malibu and off the coast south of Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands, forecasters said.

"Storms are moving quickly WSW at 30 mph," the weather service warned in a tweet.

Elsewhere, light rain also developed in the San Gabriel Valley, with small amounts reported in Pasadena in the late morning hours.  Showers also moved through the Hollywood and Beverly Hills areas.

Preliminary precipitation amounts from the weather service indicated areas were hit with between 0.02 to 0.18 inches throughout the county.

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