Shadow Hills fire burns in the footprint of L.A.’s largest blaze in half a century

A map of the eastern San Fernando Valley shows the location of a brush fire in Shadow Hills

Firefighters from five Los Angeles-area agencies are continuing to battle a 107-acre brush fire that broke out in Shadow Hills on Wednesday afternoon.

The fire, first reported shortly after 1 p.m. at about 5 acres, was burning in light-to-medium brush near 10018 N. Sunland Way, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. The blaze was moving uphill, driven by winds of roughly 8 mph.

By 3:45 p.m., the fire had grown to its current size of 107 acres.

Capt. Erik Scott, a Fire Department spokesperson, told The Times around 5:30 p.m. that all forward progress on the fire had been stopped but that crews were “not out of the woods.”

Firefighters continued to extinguish flames within the burn perimeter and improve containment lines, Scott said.


The blaze was 40% contained.

Though the recent rains have helped tame some active blazes, it’s too soon to say goodbye to this year’s fire season.

Sept. 20, 2022

The fire is burning in very rugged, remote and steep terrain, Scott said. Fire crews must hike about three-quarters of a mile to get to the fire, and personnel reported continued hot spots along the fire’s edge.

Despite the challenges, the fact that the fire is burning inside the footprint of the 2017 La Tuna fire, which was the city’s largest blaze in half a century at 7,194 acres, has helped to keep it under control.

“That means the vegetation and fuel we’re dealing with is not tall, thick, green brush,” Scott said. “If this burned outside of that footprint, this would have been a whole other story.”

The 2017 fire destroyed five homes and led to more than 300 residences being evacuated. In contrast, Wednesday’s fire has not threatened homes, caused no injuries to firefighters or civilians, and has not endangered pets or other domestic animals.

“We hit this fire very hard and very fast with five agencies,” Scott said. “We’re not messing around with wildfire in this heat. We work to stomp them out while they’re small. The fact that today’s fire was in a previous burn footprint greatly assisted our efforts.”

Madera, Modoc and Siskiyou counties each saw fires burn through structures and homes during California’s record-breaking heat wave at the start of September.

Sept. 20, 2022

About 120 LAFD personnel were working the blaze as of Wednesday evening, he said. Firefighters from the L.A. County, Glendale and Burbank fire departments, as well as the Angeles National Forest, also joined in the effort.


Ground crews were supplemented by firefighting aircraft, Scott said.

The blaze serves as a reminder for anyone living in a brush area to take the following precautions: be very familiar with the Ready, Set, Go program; perform brush clearance to give firefighters defensible space to save homes; and harden their homes from embers, he said.

“This will be an extended operation to achieve full containment and mop up,” according to an LAFD alert sent Wednesday evening.

The fire’s cause remains under investigation.