2 homes destroyed, 1 damaged as firefighters halt progress of Whittier-area brush fire

Firefighters carry furniture out of a home that was burned
Los Angeles County firefighters carry valuables out of a home burned in the Sycamore fire near Whittier on Thursday afternoon.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles County firefighters battled a brush fire near Whittier on Thursday that burned three homes, destroying two of them.

The Sycamore fire near the 4800 block of Cinco View Drive burned 7 acres, said Craig Little, a spokesman for the L.A. County Fire Department.

One person was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening burns, Little said.

The blaze destroyed two homes and damaged a third, according to the Fire Department.

A helicopter drops water on brush.
An L.A. County Fire helicopter makes a drop of water on a brush fire in Whittier on Thursday.
(Raul Roa / Times Community News)

Inspector Sean Ferguson, a Fire Department spokesman, said that the fire was 20% contained and that crews had halted its forward progress. More than 200 firefighters were on scene.

Firefighters faced hot and dry conditions as they battled the blaze.

The temperature was 82 degrees Thursday afternoon with 5-mph winds from the west, 10-mph gusts and 18% humidity, according to the National Weather Service.

Crews were expected to remain at the scene overnight mopping up the fire with hose lines around the nearby homes, Little said.


Earlier in the day, unseasonable heat wave and gusty Santa Ana winds fueled a brush fire that forced thousands of people to flee an affluent Orange County coastal community, stoking fears that dangerous blazes could become more common in dry winter months.

The Emerald fire broke out around 4 a.m. in the wilderness area between Laguna Beach and the community of Emerald Bay near Coast Highway. Thick clouds of smoke blanketed the entire beachside town as residents from Irvine Cove and Emerald Bay, two exclusive gated communities with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, packed up their cars and fled in the dark.

Two fires, one near Laguna Beach and the other near Whittier, brought harbingers of a difficult fire year for the parched region.

Feb. 10, 2022

“We no longer have a fire season. We have a fire year,” Orange County Fire Authority Chief Brian Fennessy said. “This is supposed to be the middle of winter, and we’re anticipating 80- to 90-degree weather. Even though the hillsides are green, it doesn’t take but low humidity and wind to cause fires to occur.”

“If this is any sign of what’s to come throughout the rest of the winter and spring, we’re in for a long year,” he added.

February is traditionally the wettest month in California, but has not brought any rain to the region so far, said Samantha Connolly, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in San Diego.