Fire erupts on game day

While the Cardinals were battling the Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII, about 200 firefighters were battling a fire on La Tuna Canyon. The blaze continues to be investigated by the Los Angeles City Fire Department’s arson division after an abandoned vehicle, thought to be the cause of the fire, was parked on a service road surrounded by heavy brush.

The initial call came in at 2:50 p.m. on Sunday. L.A. City Fire Department responded to the 3800 block of La Tuna Canyon in Tujunga. Fire units from Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank and L.A. County assisted LAFD. The winds were about 15 miles per hour, not strong but enough to spread the fire quickly. There were some challenging moments as the fire moved up the mountainside nearing the Tranquil Place area of Tujunga.

According to incident commander LAFD Asst. Chief Jeffrey “Scott” Mottram, engines were sent to the area near the homes as a precautionary line of protection but no structures were in danger. There were no evacuations ordered but Animal Services was requested for residents who wished to evacuate pets.

“It is unprecedented to have a fire on Feb. 1,” Mottram said. He added that California fire season is more year round at present because of the dry vegetation but it was still odd to have this type of wild fire so late in the winter season.

The abandoned vehicle was a white SUV that had been parked on a gated service road. It is unknown if the gate was open prior to the vehicle being abandoned or if the driver opened it.

By 5 p.m. the fire was 90% contained and had burned about 20 acres. Firefighters stayed throughout the night to take care of any flare-ups. In all, about 200 firefighters, seven county and city helicopters and three bulldozers helped contain the blaze.

“Luckily the winds are good,” Mottram said.

LAFD has an agreement with other agencies in the area to respond quickly to wild fires, he said.

“[Although] there had been some rain recently, there were also those eight days of record breaking heat in January. The vegetation is still dry, and all should be cautious and aware of fire dangers.” Mottram added.

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