Glendale brush fire threatens homes, shuts down freeways

Dozens of firefighters were trying to get the upper hand on a brush fire in Glendale Friday afternoon as it threatened canyon homes and wrecked havoc on nearby freeways.

Evacuation orders were issued for homes in the 500 block of Solway Street. Traffic into Chevy Chase Canyon was closed as water-dropping helicopters attacked from above.

[Update: As of about 4:20 p.m., the fire had grown to 75 acres, according to the city.

No injuries were reported as of 4:20 p.m. and no structures had been damaged. No residents had visited the Adult Recreation Center.

Homes between the 2100 and 2700 blocks of Chevy Chase Canyon were being evacuated. All of Glenoaks Canyon to Scholl Canyon were evacuated because of the weather conditions.

While winds are expected to die down this evening, he said flames have the potential of creating their own windstorms, posing another threat.

Lorenz credited canyon residents for being diligent and clearing brush from their homes and the hillside.

Glendale firefighters, he said, had been preparing and planning for brush fires due to the recent high winds.]

Portions of Chevy Chase and Glenoaks Canyons were also under evacuation orders, according to the city. Glenoaks Elementary School at 2015 E. Glenoaks Blvd. was also evacuated.

An evacuation center was set up at the Adult Recreation Center, 201 E Colorado St.

Glendale Fire Chief Harodl Scoggins said the fire was “spotting,” creating new flare ups.

Glendale Community College, meanwhile, closed the campus and canceled classes for the remainder of the evening due to the fire.

At nearby Glendale Adventist Medical Center, “no patients were evacuated or affected” by the fire, hospital spokeswoman Alicia Gonzalez said.

The Pasadena Humane Society also offered evacuees boarding for their pets at no cost at 361 S. Raymond Ave. in Pasadena.

The commute remained snarled, particularly on the southbound Glendale (2) Freeway, which was at a virtual standstill shut down at Harvey Drive, where the ramp was closed. Mountain Street ramps remained closed in either direction.

Bus lines in the area were also expected to be impacted by the activity.

Vera Souma, 37, who lives in the Verdugo Woodlands area of Glendale, said she owns a home on Solway Street that was evacuated.

The tenants called her husband roughly an hour ago to let him know they were safe.

“As long as our tenants are out, we’re fine,” she said.

While she’s seen brush fires in Glendale before, this seems to have hit the closest to home, she said while watching footage of the fire on TV.

“It feels very weird,” she said, adding that her mother, who lives on Ridge Drive, can see the fire from her home. “It’s very close to where we live.”

On Souma’s way home, the 2 Freeway was “jam-packed,” she said. “Watching the firemen and police, the way they have everything organized…they’re amazing,” she said.

Chris Dy, 21, said his Lilac Lane home was “really, really close to the fire,” but located across the hill so his family was not planning on evacuating at the moment.

“We’re just hosing down the grass,” he said.

-- Alene Tchekmedyian contributed to this report. 

Follow Jason Wells on Facebook, Google+ and on Twitter: @JasonBretWells.

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