A brush fire threatened homes in the Sun Valley area Friday, scorching 3,000 acres by Saturday morning, forcing evacuations and shutting down a nearly 13-mile stretch of a major freeway as hundreds of firefighters struggled to bring it under control.
Firefighters were using night vision goggles to make overnight water drops on the blaze, said Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department, which was working in unified command with the Burbank Fire Department.
There were no reports of injuries or structure damage as of 9 p.m., but around 50 homes were threatened and another 200 had been evacuated in the Reverie Canyon and Haines Canyon areas, Stewart said.
Authorities issued a mandatory evacuation for Brace Canyon Park and Stough Canyon Nature Center as the fire reached Burbank.
The DeBell Golf Course at 1500 E. Walnut Ave. in Burbank was also evacuated, according to the Burbank Police Department, which reported portions of Walnut Avenue and Harvard Road were closed.
Burbank police directed evacuees to McCambridge Park at 1515 Glenoaks Blvd. in Burbank and an additional evacuation shelter was established at Sunland Recreation Center at 8651 Foothill Blvd. in Sunland. Stewart said pets were also welcome in the shelters.
An evacuation shelter also was established at Verdugo Hills High School but was later moved to the Sunland Recreation Center at 8651 Foothill Blvd. in Sunland. Stewart said pets are also welcome.
The blaze broke out for unknown reasons about 1:25 p.m. near the 10800 block of La Tuna Canyon Road, just south of the Foothill (210) Freeway, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. About a half-acre of medium brush was on fire when the first crews arrived.
Wind-blown embers sparked a spot fire on the north side of the 210 and by 4 p.m., firefighters were battling flames on both sides of the freeway as the fire raced up a hillside of the Verdugo Mountains in the direction of Burbank.
An LAFD official said an area of concern was homes above the freeway from Honolulu Avenue to Crestline Drive in the Reverie Canyon area. An evacuation shelter was established at Verdugo Hills High School, 10625 Plainview Ave., in Tujunga.
Crews on scene reported the blaze had the potential to scorch 2,000 acres as thunderstorms in the area mountain caused erratic winds. The temperature at the scene was 106 degrees at 5 p.m., according to the LAFD's Margaret Stewart.
The fire prompted the shutdown of the 210 Freeway eastbound at Sunland Boulevard and westbound at Lowell Avenue, according to the California Highway Patrol. The freeway was likely to remain closed through the evening. Around 500 firefighters were battling the blaze, according to Stewart.
About 260 of those were from the LAFD, she said. The Los Angeles County, Angeles National Forest, Glendale, Pasadena and Burbank fire departments also sent units to help with the air and ground fire attack and structure protection.
The fire follows a weak of excessive heat as the National Weather Service issued an extended warning of a heat wave. Triple-digit temperatures were reached throughout Southern California as storms slammed through cities and homes were affected by power outages.
Torrid temperatures continued to broil the Southland today, and they'll persist through at least tomorrow, amid calls for residents to conserve electricity.
The "dangerously high temperatures" that will prevail in the Southland into Saturday result from strong high pressure and weak onshore flow, according to the National Weather Service. As has been the case since Saturday, the hottest areas will be the mountains and valleys of Los Angeles County, with temperature highs in those areas ranging up to 112 degrees.