Hikers rescued from fire above Brand Park

A brush fire burning in the hills north of Glendale had spread to 150 acres by Sunday evening, as fire crews struggled to battle the blaze through steep, rugged terrain, officials said.

Officials rescued three hikers via airlift, and two others walked out on their own, officials said. 

The blaze was traveling at a slow but consistent pace through the hillside, moving away from homes or structures into the canyon, said Dan Bell, community relations coordinator for the city of Glendale. Bell said firefighting efforts from the ground were challenging due to the “treacherous” landscape.

“The fire is burning in areas where hand crews can’t get to, nor would we want to put them in harm’s way,” he said. 

The fire, reported at 10-acres shortly before 1 p.m. Sunday, quickly grew to 50-acres, said Glendale Fire Battalion Chief Bill Lynch. It tripled in size by 10 p.m. that evening. 

Firefighters believe they will have the fire fully contained Monday morning. 

Numerous agencies are on scene to battle the blaze, including firefighters from Glendale, Burbank, Pasadena, Los Angeles city as well as Los Angeles County Fire. No structures have been damaged, and no firefighters or hikers have been injured, Lynch said. 

Officials said they currently do not have information on the identity of the hikers, nor the cause.

Cindy Cassidy, 43, lives about two miles south of the fire. She was at Brand Park, leaning against the stone wall at the entrance with her 9-year-old son, Cameron. They had been watching the fire for about two hours.  

"I feel comfortable with their response," she said about authorities at the scene. 

Cassidy drove Cameron to Brand Park to watch the fire and crews tackle the blaze. 

"He's afraid of fires. His legs were shaking and he told me, 'Don't park here' and 'Don't park too close," she recalled. "He thought the fire was going to sweep the area." 

But that fear seems to have waned as Cameron focused his eyes on the smoke lifting from the canyon. 

"It's interesting, how it moves," he said about the smoke and pockets of flames.  

As many as 180 firefighters battled the blaze during the day, Bell said. Two firefighters were hit by falling rocks and one suffered minor scrapes but none were seriously injured.

“It kind of tells you the terrain they’re working with,” Bell said.

 Los Angeles Times reporters Alicia Banks and Victoria Kim contributed to this report. 

-- Dan Evans, dan.evans@latimes.com 

Follow on Twitter: @EditorDanEvans.


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