Brush Fire Along 405 Fwy Sparked by “Discarded Smoking Materials”

The blaze snarled afternoon traffic in San Fernando Valley

Wind gusts and dry, warm air set the scene for a brush fire along a Southern California freeway Sunday afternoon that was likely sparked by a cigarette, fire officials said.

The nearly 2-acre blaze blocked traffic on the northbound San Diego (405) Freeway just south of the Ronald Reagan (118) Freeway just before 2 p.m., according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Full Coverage: Southern California Wildfires

Firefighters blamed the cause of the blaze on "carelessly-discarded smoking materials." The fire was contained within about 36 minutes, said LAFD spokesman Brian Humphrey.

Despite reports of winds blowing upwards of 26 mph with gusts of 37 mph in parts of the San Fernando Valley, Humphrey said winds were blowing at 5 mph at the scene of the blaze.

Water drops gave firefighters a good amount of control over the flames about 20 minutes into the blaze.

No injuries or structure damage were reported in the fire, Humphrey said.

Dry weather and strong Santa Ana winds forecasted for the week ahead pose a concern for firefighters as Los Angeles remains in an extreme period of drought.

"It's really dry out there, and it's getting worse every day," said Los Angeles City Fire Battalion Chief David Frelinger.

The fire station in Hollywood has more than quadrupled its firefighting staff in preparation for the next.

"Unfortunately, our weather forecast for rainfall is not great, and I'm very concerned about how it's going to affect us long-term," Frelinger said.

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