BEVERLY CREST (CBSLA) – Firefighters continued to make progress Wednesday afternoon on a more than 35-acre brush fire which broke out in the Beverly Crest area  near Benedict Canyon.

The Portola Fire was reported before 2 p.m. in the 9800 block of Portola Drive. A landscaper using a weed wacker in heavy brush accidentally sparked the fire, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.


As of Wednesday morning, the fire had burned 35 to 40 acres and was 40 percent contained. Crews used drones overnight Tuesday to monitor the area for flareups.

“You’re looking at hot spots that aren’t visible to the naked eye, so there was no active visible flame, but we were able to see the hottest portions of the fire, which were in the southeast portion,” LAFD Capt. Branden Silverman said. “And they were able to monitor those, and as I said, no flare-ups, so we weren’t (sic) needed to call in aircraft to make any drops.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Mullholland Drive was shut down between Beverly Glen Boulevard and Deep Canyon Drive and evacuations were ordered for about 86 homes on the northern boundary of Highridge Drive down to Summitridge Drive, and continuing on to San Ysidro Drive to Stan Place.

Those evacuations were lifted Tuesday night. Mulholland Drive was reopened just before 10:45 a.m. Wednesday. However, surrounding residential streets remained closed except to residents.

“There’s still a threat any time you have a large acreage of burning embers, that the potential of a possible weather change, so we continue to lean forward,” LAFD Capt. Erik Scott said. “However, we have made great progress, and we plan to continue to make great progress until its 100 percent contained.”

At the fire’s height, more than 250 LAFD personnel were battling the flames, with the help of five water-dropping choppers and four air tankers.

No structures were destroyed. Two male firefighters suffered minor injuries.

The cause of the blaze was considered an accident and no charges were expected to be filed against the landscaper.

“This serves as a strong reminder to residents to only use licensed contractors who follow the safety requirements to include no metal blades and extinguishing agent at hand,” LAFD said in a news release. The exhaust manifolds can get very hot and is the likely cause of the fire.”

This was the third fire to break out in the Southland in the last two days.

A car fire on the 71 Freeway in Chino Tuesday sparked a 120-acre vegetation fire called the Euclid Fire. No structures were damaged. As of Wednesday morning, the Euclid Fire was 15 percent contained, according to CAL Fire.

In Thousand Oaks, a five-acre blaze threatened homes off Arroyo View Drive before being quickly knocked down by Ventura County firefighters.


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