‘Major Emergency' Brush Fire in Brentwood Sparked by Weed Whacker

The fire was caused by a worker doing weed abatement for brush clearance

An accidental brush fire in Mandeville Canyon that has charred at least 55 acres was 80 percent contained late Sunday, the Los Angeles Fire Department said.

By the time the blaze was reported about 12:45 p.m. it had burned three to four acres of brush near a house in the 2960 block of Mandeville Canyon Road, fire department spokeswoman Margaret Stewart said.

The fire was caused by a worker doing weed abatement for brush clearance, Stewart said.

An hour later, it had spread to eight acres, burning up hillsides toward the Mountaingate Country Club, Stewart said.

The fire was declared a "major emergency" by the LAFD around 2 p.m.

By 3:30 p.m., the acreage burned had ballooned to 30 acres, she said.

A volcano-like smoke plume was visible across the Westside and San Fernando Valley, as the fire consumed moderate to thick brush in an area just off Mandeville Canyon Road, a dead end thoroughfare that snakes up a deep canyon, lined by expensive view houses.

Mandeville Canyon Road was shut down at Sunset Boulevard to accommodate fire fighting operations, Stewart said.

The area was expected to remain an active fire operation for at least the next 36 hours, she said.

Some 115 firefighters were on the scene within 70 minutes and about 160 were there by 3:30 p.m., Stewart said.

The city fire department dispatched two water-dropping helicopters, and the county fire department employed another one, in addition to five camp crews to help the ground attack against the flames, Stewart said.

A command post was set up to coordinate the various firefighting agencies at Mountaingate Drive, according to Stewart.

Fire trucks were staged for assignment at Sunset Boulevard, two-plus miles downhill from the fire. Another command post was set up at the Mountaingate country club, north of the fire and just west of the San Diego (405) Freeway.

Firefighters asked Los Angeles police to be ready in case houses need to be evacuated. Eventually five homes were cleared, Stewart said.

No houses were burned and no injuries have been reported.

Traffic was snarled at the bottom of the canyon, and only emergency vehicles were allowed north of there.

One family told firefighters they evacuated their home so quickly they left food cooking on a stove. Crews were sent to turn it off.

Equipment that had been assigned to an earlier fire in Lake View Terrace was redirected to a fire station in Van Nuys after the Brentwood fire broke out. 

The nearby Getty Center museum did not close, but stopped allowing additional patrons to enter as a precaution, a spokesman said.

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