Firefighters put a stop to the spread of a 60-acre brush fire was burning in Los Angeles' sprawling Sepulveda Basin Thursday, filling San Fernando Valley skies with smoke on a day with critical fire dangers.
As fires burned around the Santa Clarita and Castaic area, consuming homes, the Sepulveda Fire in Los Angeles broke out shortly after 4 p.m.
It was reported in the 5600 block of North Woodley Avenue, near the intersection with Burbank Boulevard. It's an area where homeless people are known to bed down and keep belongings.
Firefighters had built containment lines around 80% of the blaze by 9 p.m., according to Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Nicholas Prange.
"LAFD dozers cut very effective fire line that stopped the flames in their 'tracks,' Prange said in a written statement. "Ground and air crews made aggressive attacks to keep this fire from damaging any buildings or even causing any evacuations."
No injuries were reported, and the cause remained under investigation.
"Crews will remain on scene to mop up remaining hot spots and ensure containment lines hold as the extreme fire weather is expected to return through the night and continue into tomorrow," Prange said.
Sherman Oaks and Encino residents were told to gather essential documents, food and water, and position their vehicles to prepare for a "swift exit" in case officials issue evacuation orders, LAFD said.
"Those nearby should gather essentials, monitor local news, LAFD social media channels, and lafd.org/alerts," the Los Angeles Fire Department said in an alert.
"Homeless are being evacuated south to the 101 Freeway," the department said.
Officers also combed through and evacuated all recreational areas, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
The city's Emergency Management Department described the fire as "severe," posting a "significant threat to life or property."
Authorities said the fire was not threatening any structures.
Water-dropping helicopters could be seen working the blaze.
The blaze was initially reported at 2 acres, and had grown to 30 acres in two hours. The fire is within the 2,150-acre Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area, which is run by the city's parks department.
Firefighters had the blaze 20% contained by 6 p.m. and they were expected to stay there throughout the night to extinguish any flareups, LAFD Chief Trevor Richmond said.
Winds were coming from the north or northeast, with gusts of up to 30 mph, and humidity was in the single digits, the National Weather Service said.
Because of the dangerous fire conditions, Red Flag Parking Restrictions are expected to continue through Friday, with officials towing away any vehicles parked illegally in certain locations within "Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones."
Drivers can avoid being towed by refraining from parking in spots marked with signs indicating that no parking is allowed on "red flag days."
Both southbound and northbound 405 Freeway off-ramps to Burbank Boulevard were closed. Meanwhile Burbank Boulevard was closed in both directions between Woodley and Sepulveda, LAFD said.