Firefighters to Stage Overnight Stand Against Sesnon Fire

Fire crews defend Simi Valley neighborhood

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A water-dropping helicopter hits its target in Granada Hills.

    More than 1,200 firefighters will stage an overnight stand against the Sesnon Fire -- a nearly 13,285-acre blaze that burned into the Simi Valley area of Ventura County.

    The fire started Monday on Oat Mountain in Porter Ranch. The fire remained completely uncontained late Tuesday because "there are too many open fronts right now," said Inspector Ron Haralson of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

    According to Haralson, the fire has completely destroyed 15 homes and damaged six others. Also, 47 outbuildings were destroyed and 41 vehicles were destroyed, he said.

    Water Drop In Granada Hills

    [LA] Water Drop In Granada Hills
    A water-dropping helicopter hits its target in Granada Hills.

    Nine helicopters were helping from the air -- although aerial assaults stopped at sundown Tuesday.

    As the wind-fueled Sesnon Fire continued its out-of-control march through brush around Porter Ranch and toward Simi Valley, fire crews made a stand Tuesday on the northern edge of the Knollwood neighborhood. A flare-up pushed flames dangerously close to some backyards and forced dozens of residents to flee their homes.

    Crews Fight SoCal Fires

    [LA] Crews Fight SoCal Fires
    Fire crews across Southern California work to stop a rash of wildfires.

    Also Tuesday, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors each declared a local emergency. The mayor's declaration will allow the city of Los Angeles to receive state and federal disaster assistance.

    "In declaring a local emergency for the city of Los Angeles, I have made all city resources available to fighting the fires, helping Angelenos with their loss and preparing for state and federal disaster assistance," Villaraigosa said.

    The mayor's declaration will be submitted to the Los Angeles City Council for ratification.
     
    The county's declaration, proposed by Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky and Michael Antonovich, also calls for county agencies and financial institutions to assist fire victims, and for the county assessor to develop concessions for property owners such as extending deadlines for upcoming property tax payments.

    In addition, the issuance of building permits will be expedited to assist the recovery process, while the county requests that major banks and lending institutions reschedule mortgage payments for victims.

    The county will issue emergency housing vouchers for residents with an income below 50 percent of the area median income who lost homes in the Sky Terrace Mobile Home Park in Lopez Canyon.

    On Monday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

    Residents can get updated information on evacuations, road closures and assistance by calling the LAFD at 800-439-2909 or the L.A. County Fire Department at 323-881-2413.

    Schwarzenegger was at the Hansen Dam Recreation Area Tuesday to thank firefighters. He also talked about funding for the firefighter efforts.

    "Public safety is the No. 1 and most important thing," Schwarzenegger said. "If the whole state is burning, then we will find the money somewhere else."

    Traffic, evacuation and shelter information: 800-439-2909 | Red Cross Shelter Information

    Sesnon Fire

    • Location: Porter Ranch
    • Reported: Monday morning
    • Burn Acreage/Containment: 13,000 acres/5 percent
    • Evacuations: 3,000 homes
    • Injuries/Fatalities: One killed in traffic collision on 118 Freeway
    • Cause: Under investigation

    4:15 p.m. Update: A branch of the fire advanced toward homes in Simi Valley. Crews used a heavy aerial attack to stop the spread.

    12:24 p.m. Update: Crews on the ground and in the air prevented a fire at the base of a hillside from spreading to houses. Crews searched for smoldering brush and embers under dirt. Aerial drops continued.

    11:41 a.m. Update: Flare-ups were spotted in the Granada Hills area on a hill behind houses. KNBC reported that residents were prepared to evacuate.

    11:30 a.m. Update: Wind gusts in Porter Ranch were around 40 mph, causing concern that the fire might make another run Tuesday afternoon. Crews are attempting to prevent the blaze from crossing the 101 Freeway.

    6:28 p.m. Update: Officials said aerial assaults have finished for the evening and would resume again Wednesday.

    Marek Fire

    • Location: Lake View Terrace
    • Reported: 4 a.m., Sunday
    • Burn Acreage/Containment: 4,800 acres/80 percent
    • Evacuations: 200 people, about 450 homes; All evacuations, except Lopez Canyon, lifted at 9 a.m.
    • Injuries/Fatalities: One fatality
    • Cause: Suspicious, under investigation

    3:35 p.m. Update: Rachel Mailo of the Angeles National Forest said the containment figure is likely to increase dramatically when another assessment is made at about 6 p.m., thanks to diminishing winds.

    11:52 a.m. Update: Kagel Canyon was reopened to local residents, who must show identification. Most are returning home, but one family found that their home and vehicles were destroyed by the blaze.

    6:24 p.m. Update: So far, roughly 1,300 firefighters from several fire departments in the Southland and elsewhere in California were assigned to fight the Marek Fire, the U.S. Forest Service reported.

    7 p.m. Update: Full containment was expected by Thursday, said Marty Willbee of the U.S. Forest Service.

    San Bernardino Fire

    • Location: San Bernardino, along 215 Freeway corridor from Baseline to Mill Street
    • Reported: Monday afternoon
    • Burn Acreage/Containment: 150-200 acres/Crews searching for flare-ups
    • Evacuations: None
    • Injuries/Fatalities: None
    • Damage: One home, two commercial structures destroyed
    • Cause: Under investigation

    Newport Beach Fire

    • Location: Bonita Canyon area, Newport Beach
    • Reported: 3:21 p.m., Monday
    • Burn Acreage/Containment: 35 acres of brush/Contained
    • Evacuations: 300
    • Injuries/Fatalities: None
    • Cause: Under investigation