A small brush fire that broke out on a westbound shoulder of the Foothill (210) Freeway by the Angeles Crest Highway offramp Friday closed two lanes of freeway traffic for more than one hour but was quickly contained, fire officials reported.
Los Angeles County Fire Department personnel from La Cañada stations No. 82 and 19 responded to the call within minutes and were soon joined by units from La Crescenta and Altadena, Capt. Adrian Murrieta of Fire Station No. 82 said Friday afternoon.
There was no property loss, but one pine tree was engulfed in flames, which also consumed surrounding dry brush all the way to the edge of the freeway.
Murrieta said the fire was small — measuring about 10,000 square feet, or one-quarter of an acre — and may possibly have been started by a cigarette.
"We were unable to determine the exact cause," the captain added, indicating thick vegetation in that area caused the fire to burn rapidly and at high temperatures. "But there were no outside sources, like electricity or a car fire — we can definitely rule those out."
A SigAlert was issued by the California Highway Patrol at around 12:35 p.m., about 10 minutes after officers were alerted to the fire, according to officer Elizabeth Kravig. Westbound lanes No. 3 and 4 were closed to traffic while the firefighting crews battled the blaze from the ground and by air.
Murietta said two county fire helicopters were called in, as flames which had enveloped a tall pine tree were slightly beyond reach of firefighters' hoses, though only one vehicle dropped water. Super scoopers arrived on scene but were called off when the fire was largely contained.
"We didn't need them, so we sent them home," said the captain, estimating it took crews about 20 minutes to completely contain the fire.
Kravig confirmed the closed lanes of the 210 Freeway were reopened to traffic by around 2 p.m.