The Portola Fire, which was reportedly caused by a weed wacker being used in a resident's yard on Portola Drive, threatens the Beverly Crest area near Benedict Canyon in Los Angeles, home to many famous residents like Tatum, Emmy Rossum, Jon Lovitz, Jessica Alba, Jon Voight, Barbara Eden and Lisa Vanderpump and Ken Todd.
Update #BrushFire; 10:21PM; 9808 W Portola Dr; #WestLosAngeles; #PortolaFire Acreage remains 35-40 Containment now at 40% Evacuations were lifted at 8PM BUT these streets open to RESIDENTS ONLY. LAPD will be checking drivers ... https://t.co/p1bfgIEmkM— LAFD (@LAFD) June 13, 2018
As of 10:21 p.m. Tuesday, the fire remained at 35-40 acres and was 40 percent contained, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. Residents of the 86 homes initially told to evacuate were able to return to their homes by 8 p.m., although the neighborhood is open to residents only. The fire began around 2:00 p.m.
Crews were expected to stay on the scene to stamp out "hot spots" throughout the night, according to the Los Angeles Times.
No injuries or damages to structures have been reported. At the height of the fire, approximately 200 firefighters were on the scene, Variety reports.
Benedict Canyon is on the west side of Beverly Hills, north of Sunset Blvd. and east of Bel Air and the 405 freeway. Authorities and news media crews are recommending avoiding the entire Benedict Canyon area so that emergency services can access the fire.
One county official told the Times that the fire is a bit early in the calendar year.
“We hit it pretty hard,” Art Marrujo, a dispatch supervisor with the Los Angeles County Fire Department, said of the blaze. “We usually don’t start burning till July, August. Here we are in June, burning — just typical of what’s going on.”
The unusually dry winter brought with it one of the most destructive fire seasons on record in California history, prompting fire officials to issue firm warnings to residents. Among the warnings was one to use licensed contractors who follow safety rules for brush clearance, like avoiding metal blades and carrying a fire extinguisher.
Officials said the weed wacker's exhaust manifolds most likely overheated and set off the blaze.1comments
As dry as the winter was, temperatures in L.A. hovered around 80 degrees on Tuesday, with light winds, meaning weather conditions didn't make firefighting efforts more difficult aside from the hilly area being covered in brush.
“We’re truly never out of fire season,” Marrujo said. “Because of the drought and no rain and everything else, all the vegetation out there is dried up and easier to catch fire and spread more rapidly than normal.”