Crews battle three brush fires that, combined, have scorched hundreds of acres in Southern California

SAA fire crew walks through a charred field at the Agua fire.
A fire crew walks through a charred field at the Agua fire in north Los Angeles County on Wednesday, July 26, 2023. The fire burned more than 400 acres into the Angeles National Forest.
(Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times)

Firefighters continued to battle three large brush fires Wednesday that, combined, had scorched hundreds of acres in Southern California, damaging power lines and shutting down roads amid triple-digit temperatures.

The latest, dubbed the Owen fire, ignited in the Santa Monica Mountains shortly before 2 p.m. and was gauged, around 3 p.m., at 50 acres, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. A revised size-up at 5 p.m. Wednesday estimated the fire at 25 acres.

About 200 firefighters battled the blaze, which was 30% contained by Wednesday evening, according to a department spokesperson. Although the fire was burning near homes, in the area of North Topanga Canyon Boulevard and Santa Maria Road, it was not threatening any structures and had not prompted evacuations. Topanga Canyon Boulevard was temporarily closed in both directions due to the blaze, according to Caltrans.


Firefighters also continued to battle a brush fire at the edge of Angeles National Forest that quadrupled in size overnight, swelling to 421 acres as of Wednesday morning.

The Agua fire, which ignited Tuesday afternoon near Soledad Canyon and Agua Dulce Canyon roads near Santa Clarita, was 20% contained Wednesday evening, according to forest officials.

About 330 firefighters from both the L.A. County Fire Department and Angeles National Forest worked amid a heat advisory, enduring sweltering temperatures and steep terrain that made some areas difficult to reach and contributed to the blaze’s rapid growth.

Soledad Canyon Road was closed between Agua Dulce and Crown Valley roads as a result of the fire, according to Angeles National Forest. The blaze had also destroyed power lines, though forest officials could not confirm how many.

The Agua fire, near the edge of the Angeles National Forest, swelled from 4 acres to 100 acres in less than two hours, L.A. County firefighters said.

July 25, 2023

There were no evacuations as of late Wednesday due to the Agua fire, said Celeste Morales, an Angeles National Forest spokesperson. The cause is under investigation.

Overnight Tuesday, as the fire continued to burn, the county Fire Department deployed most of its resources to assist Angeles National Forest. As of Wednesday morning, about seven county firefighters were working to contain the blaze, according to a department spokesperson.


About 13 miles away, the L.A. County Fire Department and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection continued to battle another Santa Clarita Valley brush fire that ignited Tuesday afternoon amid triple-digit heat.

A ridge of high pressure continues to trap a ‘heat dome’ over Southern California, bringing risk of heat-related illness and wildfires.

July 24, 2023

The Victor fire, which started near North Sierra Highway and Needham Ranch Parkway, had grown to 70 acres by Wednesday morning, with 10% containment and one reported injury, according to county fire officials. No evacuations, closures or structural damage were reported.

Metrolink service in Santa Clarita was temporarily halted Tuesday afternoon due to dangers posed by the Agua fire and other smaller brush fires — including one that ignited along the 5 Freeway after a police pursuit ended in a crash. Thirteen trains were canceled, but all were back in service by Wednesday afternoon, said Scott Johnson, a Metrolink spokesperson.

About eight miles from the Agua fire, another blaze that ignited Tuesday afternoon near Sierra Highway and Jakes Way in Canyon Country burned on both sides of the Metrolink tracks, county fire officials said. Firefighters stopped the spread of the 1-acre fire within an hour.

At 1:36 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, firefighters were also dispatched to a brush fire in Palmdale that grew to 5 acres and delayed traffic. The blaze, which ignited north of Palmdale Boulevard, was stopped by 3 p.m.