The Los Angeles Fire Department responded to an 8:46 p.m. alarm of a brush fire below Corona de Mar, between Chautauqua and Potrero Canyon
At 9:25 p.m., LAFD reported “LAFD helicopters have joined LAFD ground crews in the assault on the terrain-driven flames involving ‘more than’ one acre of medium-to-heavy brush between Pacific Coast Highway and Corona del Mar, burning uphill. LAFD crews are positioned to protect and defend the homes at the top of the bluff.
“No structure damage or injures have been reported. Though there are no formal evacuation orders, residents are asked to follow the lawful orders of uniformed public safety personnel in the area.”
Pacific Coast Highway was closed to all traffic between Chautauqua Boulevard and Temescal Canyon Road.
A Huntington resident, John Alle, wrote CTN “Our property is up the street, so I and other neighbors were concerned about life, family and property.
“Our crews from Station 69 were outstanding and backup support arrived from Westwood and other stations in LA,” Alle said. “There were numerous water drops, great overhead lighting from helicopters and crews on the ground and the immediate set-up and organization were nothing less than impressive and spectacular.”
At 9:45 p.m., LAFD released this report “85 LAFD personnel, including those aboard a trio of helicopters, joined by hand crews from the Los Angeles County Fire Department and units from neighboring Santa Monica Fire Department, have stopped all forward progress of the terrain-driven flames to two acres of medium-to-heavy brush in very steep and rocky terrain between Pacific Coast Highway and Corona del Mar. No injury. No structure damage reported. No formal evacuation.”
LAFD spokesperson Brian Humphrey said, “The LAFD Helicopters assigned to the incident made a total of 18 water drops on the fire.” (The helicopters filled up at the Highlands reservoir).
Alle said that once the fire was under control, fire crews continued to use hoses to hit potential hot spots and that additional crews were brought into cut down brush.
“They had to descend steep and winding hillside at great risk of slipping or falling,” he said and sent a thank you to firefighters. “Watching the dense fire from on-site, I never had a doubt it was any match for the professional work and command of our First Responders.”
Pacific Coast Highway was closed last night and remained closed until about 6 a.m. this morning.
Humprey was asked if the source of the fire had been identified. “The specific cause (emphasis) of the fire was undetermined (e.g. following an investigation, not able to be definitively determined),” he said.
This morning, CTN received photos of two fire pits and a large homeless tent that was set up just south of where the fire started. The photos were shared with LAFD’s Humphrey.
The LAPD beach detail was behind the wall on Friday and it was clear at that time. Unfortunately, the beach detail, which consists of four officers and provides 6 to 7 days coverage of the Palisades, which includes tramping through the brush, has been pulled the past week to help with protests that have occurred over racist remarks by City Council members.
West Los Angeles Captain Jonathon Tom was contacted, and said in an October 17 email to CTN, “We receive priority requests from the Department and short of going under our minimum deployment, we have to send almost everyone we have available.
“This includes detectives that should be working their cases, school and juvenile officers that should be following up on juvenile related crimes, our senior lead officers who should be following up on community issues, and yes, our beach detail,” Tom said. “There is no one that has been exempted from these details.
“Alternatively, when we have large protests in West L.A., we request officers from all over the city to come help us and they do,” Tom said. “As you know, I always do my best to deploy the beach detail. I believe in it and know it’s important, but my hands are tied.”
(Editor’s note: From the Nancy Drew detective book of how to solve crimes. Two fire pits were behind the Caltrans wall, there was a tent and evidence that someone had camped there. It seems the LAFD arson squad in doing their investigation into the cause of the fire might be able to rule out spontaneous combustion, faulty wiring, smoking in bed and candles left burning. Hmmm? What else might start a brush fire? Perhaps an illegal warming/cooking fire in a very high fire severity zone?)