LAKE ELSINORE — A prescribed burn that got out of hand and scorched 20 acres in the Cleveland National Forest was 100% contained as of Sunday evening, the Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department reported.
The burn-off started Friday near South Main Divide and Hacienda Road, south of the Lakeland Village community near Lake Elsinore, but when flames escaped the containment lines, it was declared a wildfire, according to Cleveland National Forest officials.
LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles city firefighters battled a blaze early Monday that started next to the 405 Freeway and Getty Center Drive, prompting evacuation orders and closing the freeway to traffic.
A witness notified the California Highway Patrol at 1:32 a.m. of a fire starting on the hillside close to the freeway with a possible power line on fire, the CHP reported. The CHP shut down northbound and southbound 405 Freeway lanes and all offramps from Sepulveda to Sunset boulevards on the northbound side.
As of 4:15 a.m., the CHP was asking motorists to avoid the 405 Freeway:
SIGALERT UPDATE*: S/B I-405 AT GETTY CENTER DRIVE, (CLOSURE INFO) S/B SKIRBALL OFFRAMP, S/B SEPULVEDA BLVD. OFR, S/B SUNSET BLVD. OFR, GETTY CENTER DRIVE OFR, AND MULHOLLAND DRIVE OFR WILL BE CLOSED DUE TO BRUSH FIRE DRIVERS SHOULD AVOID I-405 FREEWAY
Video of the fire posted on Twitter showed a long ridge of flames on the hill near the freeway.
At around 2:45 a.m., the Los Angeles Fire Department sent L.A. residents messages on their cell phones, accompanied by what some described as very loud buzzing noises. It said: “Emergency Alert. Prepare to evacuate due to fire near the Getty going W. More info: lafd.org/alerts .” A subsequent message included orders to actually evacuate.
The fire department ordered mandatory evacuations from the southbound 405 Freeway to Mandeville Canyon and ordered students to evacuate from Mount Saint Mary’s University at 12001 Chalon Road. Evacuations were also ordered for 200 people in a care facility next door.
An evacuation center was soon open at the Westwood Recreation Center at 1350 S. Sepulveda Blvd., near Wilshire Boulevard.
Another evacuation center opened at the Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks Recreation Center at 14201 Huston St. in Sherman Oaks.
“This is a very dynamic situation due to high winds and information is quickly developing. Stay vigilant,” LAFD spokeswoman Margaret Stewart wrote on Twitter.
The fire was believed to have been 3 to 4 acres when first observed and but soon spread to about 40 acres. By 3:30 a.m., it was reported at 75 acres.
As the Kern County city of Ridgecrest rebounds from the 6.4 magnitude earthquake that struck Thursday, July 4, public agencies are imploring Southern California communities and residents to prepare for disaster.
Caltrans District 8, which oversees Riverside and San Bernardino counties, on Thursday encouraged residents to keep a survival kit, water, comfortable clothing and shoes in their cars in case of emergency. Among the items to include in a survival pack are toothbrushes and bars of soap, a whistle and a flashlight, cash and coins, sunblock and bug repellent.
Residents always should carry enough water for three days, Caltrans officials say.
Southern California Gas, meanwhile, advised customers not to shut off their natural gas after an earthquake unless they notice a gas leak. Customers should call 911 and immediately leave the area if they smell or hear natural gas, company officials tweeted Thursday.
“Earthquakes can happen at any time … and we need to be prepared,” California Earthquake Authority CEO Glenn Pomeroy said in a statement. “It’s important to know what to do to stay safe when the ground starts shaking.”
The California Earthquake Authority is a privately-funded, publicly-managed nonprofit providing residential earthquake insurance.
Los Angeles County Fire officials on Thursday reminded Southern California residents to drop, cover and hold during an earthquake. After the shaking, residents should be prepared for aftershocks and check for fires, hazards and damaged utilities.
Experts at the state Seismic Safety Commission also recommend helping neighbors who may require special assistance, particularly the elderly and people with disabilities.
And to be informed during all types of disasters and emergencies, residents can sign up for alerts through city and county agencies.