LOS ANGELES – Wind-driven brush fires burned on the wildland fringe of Los Angeles and in three other counties Wednesday, scorching a total of more than 2,700 acres, destroying at least one home and threateningothers.
Riverside County Fire Department firefighters extinguish a 40-acre fire 2,000 feet from the Morongo Casino Wednesday on the Morongo Indian Reservation. The wind-driven blaze was fully contained by 10:30 p.m.
About 75 acres in Cabazon north of Palm Springs burned when a fire broke out after a vehicle crashed into a light pole on Verbenia Avenue near Tamarack Road at 6:12 p.m. Originally, 500 acres of land were threatened by the fire because of evening winds that were expected to pick up around midnight, but the fire was contained by 10:30 p.m., Riverside County fire officials said.
Crews were expected to remain in the area through the night, and officials said they hoped to have the fire out by 8 a.m. today.
Flames had reached as close as 2,000 feet from Morongo Casino, but neither the casino nor Interstate 10 had to be shut down.
The Riverside County Fire Department and California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention responded to the scene.
Fires burned in the Chatsworth area on the northwestern edge of Los Angeles, to the west in the Moorpark area of Ventura County and to the east in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
The most serious blaze was near Chatsworth at the west end of the San Fernando Valley. The blaze, which began mid-afternoon, hopscotched the 118 Freeway and threatened homes in Box Canyon and a trailer park in another canyon where mandatory evacuations were in place. The freeway was closed to traffic.
It wasn’t immediately known how many homes were in danger. At least one home was destroyed, according to fire officials, although two structures that appeared to be homes were seen burning in a broadcast from a KCAL-TV news helicopter. Smoke wafted from the roof of a multistory home as firefighters arrived, followed by helicopters that dropped loads of water on it.
The fire had burned over 1,200 acres and was 5 percent contained by evening, authorities said. There were more than 700 firefighters on scene. One firefighter was struck on the head by a 40-pound boulder and was taken to a hospital for examination, said city Fire Department Capt. Carlos Calvillo.
Firefighters were having a difficult time protecting some of the ranch-style homes because they didn’t have enough brush clearance to keep flames away.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa received a briefing from fire officials at the Chatsworth command post during the evening.