LOS ANGELES (CBSNewYork) – A massive, fast-moving brush fire was closing in on residential areas Saturday outside Los Angeles, forcing county officials to order mandatory evacuations for several hundred homes.
Large flames burned quickly through the brush-covered hilltops around Los Angeles, sending clouds of smoke high above the city, CBS News’ Wendy Gillette reported.
“This is and continues to be a very dynamic fire,” Los Angeles Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas said.
Named the “La Tuna fire,” it’s the largest blaze, in terms of acreage, in the history of the city.
Mandatory evacuations were issued to hundreds of residents, as helicopters dropped water to try to save homes and other structures.
“All it takes is just a little bit of wind, and that’s it – or an ember to blow,” one resident said.
Those driving on the 210 Freeway saw the fire raging dangerously close to the road before it was shut down.
“It’s been about 45 years since we’ve had a fire in this area, so we’ve known for a long time and firefighters have known for a long time there’s a lot of fuel in these mountains,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said.
Firefighters warned those under voluntary evacuations to be ready to leave within minutes.
“Be set, have your car positioned appropriately, have your pets, your documents, your pictures – all the things you want to protect – loaded up in your car,” Terrazas said.
Some of the more than 500 firefighters had been on the job for a day straight as they tried to stop the flames from spreading farther.
Fire officials said the brush fire was about 10 percent contained late Saturday night. There were no reports of injuries.