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Brush fire breaks out near Hollywood Bowl as heat wave continues

Firefighters get a handle on a small vegetation fire that broke out Tuesday near the Hollywood Bowl.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Firefighters battled a brush fire that broke out early Tuesday near the Hollywood Bowl as the region braced for another day of sizzling temperatures and Santa Ana winds.

The blaze, which broke out about 6:20 a.m. in the 2300 block of Highland Avenue in the Hollywood Hills, had charred three acres by 8 a.m., according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

After more than an hour of work, roughly 129 firefighters and three water-dropping helicopters had stopped forward progress of the fire. Ground crews will remain at the scene to handle any flare-ups and extinguish smoldering vegetation, according to fire officials.

No structures were damaged, and no evacuations were ordered. It was not immediately clear what sparked the fire.

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The blaze near the Hollywood Bowl, which canceled its season of concerts and films because of the coronavirus pandemic, was the second that L.A. firefighters responded to early Tuesday. The first fire broke out shortly before 5 a.m. atop Radio Hill in the Lincoln Heights area. Fire crews extinguished the two-acre blaze roughly two hours later, fire officials said.

The fires marked a busy start for officials as the region heads into another day of scorching temperatures. The combination of heat wind and low humidity can cause a blaze to spread rapidly, creating hazardous conditions for fire crews.

“We’re always concerned about fires,” said Kathy Hoxsie, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. “The No. 1 issue with that is wind, so the fact that the wind is not going to be as strong helps, but, really, when you have tinder-dry grass and low relative humidity, even breezy conditions can cause problems.”

The mercury is expected to rise into the 80s and 90s along the coast, and peak close to 100 degrees in more inland regions by the afternoon.

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Temperatures broke records in at least three spots in Southern California on Monday. Camarillo Airport reported a high of 89 degrees, surpassing the previous record of 81 set in 1925. At Los Angeles International Airport, the high of 84 shattered the record of 77 set in 1979, and at Long Beach Airport, the high of 90 topped the prior record of 88 set in 2015.

The weather service issued a heat advisory from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, warning of possibly of more record-breaking temperatures along the L.A. County coast that could cause heat-related illnesses.

“It’s a little early to see temperatures like this,” Hoxsie said. “But when you’re in the transition season, you can get spikes and dips.”

Santa Ana winds that buffeted the region Monday are expected to moderate as the week progresses. On Tuesday, winds of 10-20 mph are expected with gusts up to 30 mph in some regions, including along the Interstate 5 corridor, Hoxsie said.

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On Monday, L.A. County mountains were seeing gusts of 50-60 mph.

The wind and dry heat stoked small brush fires in Castaic, Lake View Terrace, Elysian Park, Eagle Rock, Lake Balboa, Corona and El Sereno on Monday. Fire crews were able to extinguish all the blazes quickly, and no homes were damaged.


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