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Fire breaks out in hills

Jackson Bell

A 150-acre brush fire considered suspicious in origin blackened the

Verdugo Mountains on Tuesday, in the area between De Bell Golf Course

and Country Club Drive.

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The fire, which avoided homes in the hills, was contained by 7:30

p.m., according to news reports. The blaze started near a catch basin

around Country Club Drive about 3:45 p.m.

Firefighters, engines, brush crews and water-carrying helicopters

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from neighboring departments including Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena

and the city and county of Los Angeles responded to the fire. The

crews set up a command post south of De Bell Golf Course.

Burbank Fire Capt. Ron Bell said a cause for the fire had not been

determined by Tuesday night, but it appeared suspicious. Fire

investigators said the fire seemed suspicious because of the number

of hiking trails around the area, which has no power lines or

structures, where the fire started.

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Police reportedly questioned one man late Tuesday about the fire,

but no arrests have been made.

The high level of brush and the day’s heat fueled the flames.

“Since this is a southwest-facing hill, it’s superheated this time

of the afternoon because of the sun,” he said. "[The fire] took off

very, very quickly by the time I got up here.”

He added that firefighters will concentrate on containing the fire

through today.

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Standing at the entrance of Country Club Drive, Emery Owens said

he rushed from Santa Clarita to help his sister, Robin Cross,

evacuate a home in the 400 block of the street. The home has been in

their family since the early 1960s. Owens arrived about 4 p.m., but

was halted by Burbank Police officers who closed off street access.

“It would be a shame to see that house go up in flames because I

like that canyon,” he said.

Malena Silveyra, who moved into her home on the 700 block of

Country Club Drive a week ago, was stunned when she retuned to the

area about 4:15 p.m. and saw billows of smoke emerging from the

hills.

“We love the area, house, neighbors -- everything,” Silveyra said.

“We’re worried about what will happen.”

In September 2002, the Brand Park fire in Glendale scorched 750

acres.

Other blazes broke out Tuesday in Fontana, Camp Pendleton and near

Moreno Valley.


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