‘Suspicious’ fire burns over 1,300 acres, forces evacuations near LA enclave

California

LOS ANGELES — Evacuation orders remained in place Sunday morning as crews continued to battle an 1,325-acre brush fire that was 0% contained in Pacific Palisades, a coastal Los Angeles neighborhood lined with multimillion dollar homes.

The Palisades Fire ignited Friday night in a remote area in the Santa Monica Mountains, burning through one of the canyons surrounding the neighborhood.

The next afternoon, a flare-up sent flames spilling over firefighters’ control lines, sparking a multi-agency response from the ground and the air. Within a few hours, the blaze had exploded to 750 acres and flames were threatening structures in the nearby Topanga Canyon area.

About 1,000 residents from that community remained evacuated Sunday morning as the fire grew to 1,325 acres, with Palisades residents also warned that they may need to leave if winds shift.

While the cause of the fire remains under investigation, Los Angeles Fire Department officials said the ignition was “suspicious” and one person had been detained for questioning on Saturday afternoon. Another person had also been detained earlier for questioning, but was later released.

The firefight has been challenging. The blaze is ripping through dry vegetation that hasn’t burned in more than five decades, and ground operations have been hindered by crews having to deal with steep terrain that is difficult to navigate, according to LAFD.

As onshore winds spread the fire Saturday, dozers were used to give crews access on the ground —though the bulk of the firefighting was air based as much of the area remained inaccessible.

Crews saw calmer fire activity overnight thanks to cool and moist weather, but officials anticipated conditions to change later Sunday when temperatures warm up and onshore winds pick up again.

LAFD said afternoon winds could push the fire northwest, where resources were deployed to protect structures in the area Sunday. No structures had been damaged as of Sunday morning, and no injuries were reported.

Pacific Palisades is a wealthy community between the Santa Monica Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, not far from Malibu. It is home to a number of celebrities.

FOX 5 sister station KTLA has updates on traffic closures and evacuations for area residents.

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