Evacuations Lifted as Firefighters Battle Burbank Fire

A brush fire that broke out on a Burbank hillside forced dozens of evacuations Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.

Sixty to 70 homes were under mandatory evacuation due to the quick-moving fire that lit up dry brush in the area, said Burbank Police Department Public Information Officer Sgt. Derek Green. The evacuations were lifted around 8:45 p.m. Wednesday. 

Some streets were closed due to the fire, including Irving Drive east of Kenneth Road and Joaquin Drive at Haven Way, the department said. The roads were reopened at 10:30 p.m.

Earlier in the day, an evacuation center was set up at McCambridge Recreation Center as mandatory evacuations were issued for all homes in on Viewcrest Drive and Howard Court.

Some voluntary evacuations were advised as Burbank police and fire personnel were responding.

"The brush comes right down into people's backyards. Sometimes only a fence line separates the two," Green said.

Some people were seen dousing their yards with water as they tried to make sure the flames did not burn down their homes. "I can just see about 30-foot-high flames from my backyard. I have my sprinklers going, just in case," said resident Michael Wilson.

The fire burned 10 acres and was 80 percent contained as of 8:20 p.m., said Burbank Fire Department Chief Ron Barone. No structures were burned, he said.

About 150 firefighters responded to the scene, according to the Burbank Fire Department.

By 8:20 p.m., there were still hard closures on Viewcrest Drive and Howard Court, but locals with identification were allowed access to Haven Way at Rolling Ridge Drive, Brace Canyon at Rolling Ridge Drive, Groton Drive at Kenneth Road and Stephen Road at Kenneth Road, said Burbank Police Department Watch Commander Adam Baumgarten.

The Los Angeles Fire Department, Los Angeles County Fire Department and Pasadena Fire Department were also assisting, Green said, adding that the fire could become a problem for surrounding cities like Pasadena and Glendale. 

A report released June 1 provided a wildfire outlook for the hot, dry summer months in California. The National Interagency Fire Center report said wildfire risk will be high in inland Southern California in July and in parts of Northern California during August and September. The report noted what could be a delayed start to the wildfire season in some locations.

California is coming off one of its wettest winters in years, which left hillsides covered in grass and other vegetation. That grass will dry out this summer and turn into tinder, providing fuel for rapidly spreading fires often pushed by strong winds.

An increase in the number of dead and dying trees also can exacerbate the wildfire threat, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) officials said. An estimated 102 million trees have died in California due to the state's five-year dry spell and bark beetle infestation.

Send your photos of the fire to isee@nbclosangeles.com.

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