Firefighters close to controlling brush fire near L.A.

Mandatory evacuations as brush fire rages in California
Mandatory evacuations as brush fire rages in California

Firefighters managed to tame a fast-moving brush fire in the hills outside Los Angeles on Sunday after it burned more than 500 acres and threatened homes in the affluent city of Calabasas, authorities said.

After some 5,000 people were forced to evacuate the area on Saturday, fire officials lifted mandatory evacuations on Sunday in Calabasas, a small city of rugged hills 25 miles (40 km) northwest of Los Angeles that several celebrities call home.

The fire has burned 516 acres and was 80 percent contained by Sunday afternoon, said John Tripp, deputy chief of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

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A commercial building was destroyed in the fire, which started when a vehicle hit a utility pole and brought down a power line, but no homes were damaged. Aerial TV images showed the burned area abutting backyards.

Evacuation orders were set to be lifted Sunday evening in the hills in Topanga Canyon, a rustic stretch famous for its resident artists and musicians that rolls down to the Pacific Ocean.

Tripp said air crews dropped fire retardant "so the fire did not escape and get down into Topanga Canyon."

The fire was one of several burning in Southern California, where days of high temperatures dried out brush and produced what Tripp called "extremely stressed vegetation."


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