Although a fire that broke out in the Verdugo Mountains this week was
fully contained, Burbank Fire Department officials have closed
Wildwood Canyon through Sunday as a precautionary measure.
The fire started about 3:45 p.m. Tuesday near a catch basin around
Country Club Drive and spread into the canyon near De Bell Municipal
Golf Course. The blaze, which burned 80 acres instead of 150 acres as
initially reported by fire officials, was contained Wednesday.
On Thursday, Assistant Chief Norm Stockton ordered Wildwood Canyon
off limits to pedestrians because Santa Ana winds are expected to
pick up this weekend, creating potential flare-ups.
At its peak, more than 100 fire- fighters and water-carrying
helicopters battled the blaze. The high levels of brush and Tuesday’s
101-degree temperatures fueled the flames.
No structures were damaged, but an unidentified Burbank
firefighter suffered a minor burn to his neck from hot embers and was
treated at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center and the Grossman Burn
Center in Sherman Oaks, Burbank Fire Capt. Ron Bell said.
Arson investigators, meanwhile, continued to work to determine the
cause of the fire, Bell said.
“All we can say is that there is no obvious source in the area or
origin,” he said. "[The fire] was suspicious because the area has no
obvious causes like a down power line or car accident -- there’s
nothing but trails.”
The fire department, he added, is investigating several phone
calls it has received from residents who claim they saw suspicious
people and vehicles in the area.
Air quality in Burbank was not greatly affected by the blaze, said
Sam Atwood, a spokesman for the South Coast Air Quality Management
District. Officials at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center said they
have seen no increases of patients complaining about respiratory
Fire officials have no estimate as to how much the firefighting
efforts cost, but a mutual-aid program in which Southland fire
departments assist each other reduced expenses, Bell said. Early
Friday morning, Burbank Fire engines 11 and 14 helped fight an
ongoing fire in Fontana.
Anyone with information on how the Burbank fire was started is
asked to call the Burbank Fire Department at 238-3473.