Beverly Crest Brush Fire Should Be Contained by Nightfall

The firefight is further complicated by the area's rugged terrain, including poison ivy and beehives

A brush fire that threatened homes in the Beverly Crest area was 80 percent contained Thursday after having scorched about 40 acres.

Firefighters hope to reach 100 percent containment before dark, according to Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Erik Scott. The task was complicated by the area's rugged terrain, including poison ivy and beehives, Scott said.

The blaze was reported just before 2 p.m. Tuesday between Portola and Yoakum drives east of Benedict Canyon Drive, according to Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Evacuations orders were lifted around 8 p.m. Tuesday for San Ysidro Drive between Milboro Place and Beeson Drive and the northern boundary of Highridge Drive down Summitridge Drive and continuing on San Ysidro Drive to Stan Place to the south. Around 85 homes were affected by evacuation orders or warnings, Stewart said.

Although the evacuation orders have been lifted, officials on Thursday still urged the public to avoid the area if possible.

About 215 firefighters remain assigned to the location. More than 250 battled the blaze at its height.

Two firefighters, both men, were taken to a hospital, one for heat exhaustion and the other for a minor burn injury, Stewart said.

Five helicopters made water drops and four fixed-wing aircraft dropped retardant on ridge lines and crews fought to contain the blaze within Benedict Canyon Drive to the west, San Ysidro Drive to the east, Yoakum Drive to the north and Portola Drive to the south, Scott said.

The fire burned uphill and in an easterly direction amid relatively light winds, Scott said.

The fire was sparked by a weed wacker being used by a contractor to clear brush in the rear of a home in the 9800 block of Portola Drive, Stewart said.

"This serves as a strong reminder to residents to only use licensed contractors who follow the safety requirements to include no metal blades and (keep an) extinguishing agent at hand,'' Stewart said. "The exhaust manifolds (on weed trimmers and brush cutters) can get very hot and is the likely cause of the fire.''

The spinning metal blades of brush cutters often throw sparks when they contact rocks during clearance work.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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