Evacuation orders affecting about 1,000 people were in effect Sunday as firefighters continued battling a suspicious brush fire in the Pacific Palisades that grew to 1,325 acres, as authorities questioned suspects.
There was zero containment of the Palisades Fire as of 12:51 p.m. Sunday, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department and county fire.
LAFD arson investigators and Los Angeles police detained two people in connection with the fire. One was questioned and released Saturday night, and authorities were interviewing a second person on Sunday, according to a fire captain.
A new evacuation warning was issued at 2 p.m. Sunday for all homes north of Chastain Parkway in the 1500 block to Calle Del Cielo. The warning area includes Calle De Sarah, Calle Bellevista and all homes west of Calle Del Cielo and Ave Ashley up to the hills.
Evacuations were ordered Saturday in two areas both in the county of Los Angeles, but not in the city, according to L.A. County Fire Department officials.
Zone 4 is everyone east of Topanga Canyon Boulevard between the Community House and View Ridge Road, and Zone 6 is everyone north of Entrada, south of Oakwood Drive and east of the Henry Ridge Motorway.
Large animals can be taken to Pierce College Equestrian Center, at 6201 Winnetka Ave. in Woodland Hills. Small animals can be taken to the Agoura Animal Care Center, 29525 Agoura Hills Road in Agoura.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department continues to search for a person suspected of setting the brush fire, said Deputy Alejandra Parra.
“Members of the sheriff’s Special Enforcement Bureau were searching for a person Saturday suspected of setting (the) brush fire,” Parra told NBC4 late Saturday.
Cool and moist weather overnight led to calmer fire activity, but conditions were expected to change Sunday as the vegetation in the area is very dry and has not burned in more than 50 years, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department’s Margaret Stewart.
Onshore winds were expected to pick up slightly in the afternoon could push the fire in the northwest direction. Resources were in place for any structural defense required, Stewart added.
“Crews are working flare-ups towards the leading edge of the fire. @LACoFireAirOps water dropping helicopters & ground personnel continue the fight in steep, rugged terrain,” the LACFD tweeted at 10:29 a.m. Sunday.
The fire ignited in a remote area off Michael Lane and Palisades Court around 10 p.m. Friday, according to LAFD spokesman Nicholas Prange.
Meanwhile, air quality officials extended a smoke advisory through at least Monday due to large amounts of smoke billowing near homes in the area and advised those who smell smoke or see ash to limit exposure by remaining indoors with windows and doors closed and avoiding vigorous physical activity.
Stewart said Saturday that there were three burn areas, “the main fire, the original fire … and a small spot fire.” The terrain is very steep and extremely difficult to navigate, she said.
“Dozers are working to improve access for firefighters on the ground but much of the area remains inaccessible. This is primarily an air-based operation with both fixed wing and rotary working together.”
Los Angeles County fire officials reported that after the marine layer blew in, the visibility became too poor for fixed-wing aircraft, which had been productive. Helicopters continued to make water drops and the tankers previously succeeded at dropping retardant across the Topanga Fire Road to south along the left flank.
“The state parks are closing trails in the area because it is unsafe for hikers but cannot clear everyone due to the vast area involved, Stewart said.
Topanga Canyon Boulevard was closed in both directions between Mulholland Drive and Pacific Coast Highway until further notice due to firefighting activity. The right lane of southbound PCH was also closed between Temescal Canyon Road and Chataqua Boulevard.
The threatened area of land to the west is within the State Responsibility Area, so the L.A. County Fire Department was involved in a unified command with the Los Angeles Fire Department and Cal Fire.
No structures have been damaged and no injuries have been reported.