Evacuations ordered as Palisades Fire threatens multimillion-dollar homes in Los Angeles

http://us.cnn.com/2019/10/21/us/california-palisades-fire/index.html

“This is due to both potential fire and smoke behavior” and the pending arrival of large aircraft dropping fire retardant, LAFD said in a news release.

The fire began around 10:30 a.m. PST at the base of Palisades Drive and quickly spread about 18 acres within 15 minutes. It quickly moved uphill and burned more than 30 acres of brush. About 200 homes within eight residential blocks were under threat from the flames, said LAFD Chief Patrick Butler during a press conference.

There are no reports of injuries or damaged structures, Butler said, and the cause of the fire is unknown.

Pacific Palisades is a coastal neighborhood west of downtown Los Angeles. The wealthy area is home to many celebrities, including Reese Witherspoon, whose home was recently featured in
an issue of Vogue. Director J.J. Abrams bought a home there in 2017 for $6.2 million, according to the
Los Angeles Times.

Firefighters were clawing their way up the hillside

A helicopter makes a water drop as flames threaten homes on a ridgeline in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles.A helicopter makes a water drop as flames threaten homes on a ridgeline in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles.

More than 150 personnel from the LAFD were battling the fire. Six hand crews from the Los Angeles County Fire Department were assisting the LAFD and plan to be in the hills of Palisades all night, Butler said.

“Right now, the conditions are favorable for fighting this fire,” said Capt. Branden Silverman of the LAFD. “We have on-shore winds that are coming off the coast and keeping the Santa Ana winds from pushing this fire hard.”

The fire is not threatening Los Angeles County residents and there is no reason to evacuate the county, County Fire Chief Anthony Marrone said.

Helicopters were seen releasing numerous and precise water drops and fire retardants on the flames. Firefighters along an extremely steep ridge below multimillion-dollar homes were seen using hoses and cutting paths to stop the fire’s progress.

“This is an extremely challenging fire for hand crews,” Butler said. “If you look at the firefighters, they’re essentially clawing up this hillside with rocks coming down on them.”

‘You can’t predict what Mother Nature is going to do’

Charlie Lyons said he was hiking Monday morning when he noticed the plumes of smoke.

“You go into denial immediately, saying, ‘I hope it’s not what I think it is,'” he said, adding that this was the second time in three weeks he’s seen fire in the hills of Palisades. “We’re in a terrible cycle right now.”

The Palisades Fire is threatening multimillion-dollar homes in Los Angeles. The Palisades Fire is threatening multimillion-dollar homes in Los Angeles.

His daughter, also named Charlie, told CNN she feared for the worst.

“I immediately started packing my stuff, my valuables,” said Charlie Lyons, 22. “My friend last year lost her house in Malibu. You can’t predict what Mother Nature is going to do.”

Fire officials say this is a terrain-driven fire, not wind-driven.

CNN’s Stella Chan, Chris Boyette and Sarah Moon contributed to this report.

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