Homes are threatened and firefighters are injured as two brush fires erupt in Southern California

Firefighters battle a 20-acre brush fire that threatened homes and triggered voluntary evacuations in La Verne.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Two wildfires erupted in Southern California on Sunday afternoon, threatening homes and triggering evacuations in La Verne and Lucerne Valley.

The La Verne blaze scorched about 40 acres of medium to heavy brush, sending three firefighters to the hospital with minor injuries, said Eddie Pickett, a dispatcher with the L.A. County Fire Department.

The fire was reported around 3 p.m. near the 210 Freeway and Fruit Street, where it was burning uphill toward residential neighborhoods.


As of shortly after 6:30 p.m., the blaze was no longer moving toward homes, though a “gust of wind or anything else can change that,” Pickett said.

(Steve Clow / Los Angeles Times)

On Twitter, L.A. County Fire officials said the fire — which triggered a three-alarm response and drew nearly 300 firefighters and at least three water-dropping helicopters — was 50% contained.

Voluntary evacuations in the Live Oak Canyon and Webb Canyon areas were lifted.

Police closed Baseline Road between Fruit Street and Japonica Avenue and warned commuters to avoid the area.

Several drivers had stopped their cars on the Fruit Street on-ramp to take photos of the fire, according to the California Highway Patrol. Traffic was snarled in both directions of the 210 Freeway.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

Another fast-moving wildfire erupted about 20 miles southeast of Victorville, charring roughly 100 acres of brush and prompting mandatory evacuations, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The blaze was reported just before 4 p.m. off High Road near Highway 18 in Lucerne Valley, according to Cal Fire spokeswoman Debbie Chapman.

In 2½ hours, it exploded from five acres to about 100, burning toward homes scattered in the desert. Roughly 200 firefighters responded to the fire.

Mandatory evacuations were in effect along sections of High Road, as well as south of Sutter, north of Santa Rosa and east of Buena Vista roads.

Twitter: @AleneTchek


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7:20 p.m.: This article was updated with information about a second brush fire.

5:30 p.m.: This article was updated with new information about the size of the fire.

4:45 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details on the number of acres burned.

This article was originally published at 4:05 p.m.