EL SERENO (CBSLA) — A 40-acre brush fire erupted in El Sereno Friday as multiple fires raged through Southern California.

What started as a 1-acre grass fire at 11:26 a.m. at 2839 N Eastern Avenue spread to 20-acres by 2:37 p.m and to 40 acres by 5:20 p.m.

An anchor line was established at the base of the fire and crews were working to get lines around it, L.A. City Fire said.

According to fire officials, 63 firefighters and one helicopter were on scene to combat flames.

Fire officials believe the fire started near El Sereno Middle School, an area known to be frequented by homeless people.

“I spoke with the captian..he verified it started in that area,” said a volunteer firefighter. “I’m going to go take a first-hand look myself, and I have an idea it started in a homeless encampment because they congregate right there by El Sereno Rec Center.”

It was a close call for many people who were grateful the firefighters were able to get there quickly.

As of 6 p.m., there were no signs of flare-ups for at least 40 minutes and the air had cleared.

No structures were immediately threatened.

Miles away, a man died and dozens of homes were destroyed nearby by the wind-driven Saddleridge Fire raging through the foothill communities of Sylmar, Porter Ranch, and Granada Hills in Los Angeles.

The 7,500-acre Saddleridge Fire blazed on Friday forcing mandatory evacuations, closing several freeways and sending thousands seeking shelter.

The gusty winds whipped up the blaze, which officials said was moving at a rate of 800 acres per hour toward the 5/14 Freeway interchange and the Santa Clarita area.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known.