Firefighters in Los Angeles County have responded to nearly two dozen vegetation fires in the last two days, and although none have grown to any significant size the sheer number highlights the powder-keg-like conditions persisting across Southern California, officials say.
“Everything is fueled by the heat. So a car fire next to a piece of brush -- everything is escalated,” said Keith Mora, inspector with the Los Angeles County Fire Department. “Anything right now is complicated by the weather.”
L.A. County firefighters have responded to about 20 spot fires in the last two days, about twice the average, Mora said. On Thursday morning, county firefighters responded to small brush next to the 10 Freeway in Pomona and off the right shoulder of the 710 Freeway in South Gate. Also Thursday morning, L.A. city firefighters dealt with a brush fire in Pacific Palisades.
Even the smallest fires get a first-alarm response, meaning extra resources to keep the flames from spreading out of control, Mora said.
City firefighters have been “very busy” the last couple of days, Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Katherine Main said. The fire in the Pacific Palisades damaged some cars but no injuries were reported.
The hot, dry conditions have fueled at least a half-dozen brush fires in San Diego County, where firefighters Thursday were trying to capitalize on calmer winds.
The fires had scorched more than 9,000 acres as of Thursday morning, as attention turned to San Marcos, where the so-called Cocos fire was still largely out of control and threatening hillside homes, officials said.
While firefighters continued to make progress at other fires, with many evacuation orders being lifted, the Cocos fire remained just 5% contained and was burning in two directions, officials said.
“This is the No. 1 fire in the county. Priority One," Nick Schuler, a battalion chief with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said at a news conference.
The high fire risk was not expected to subside until Friday, with temperatures starting to cool and Santa Ana winds dying down, forecasters said. A more dramatic cool-down was expected over the weekend.