Memories of Fires Past Put Nerves on Edge

Residents of Mandeville Canyon kept close eyes on Sepulveda Fire

BRENTWOOD -- While firefighters worked hard to keep homes from catching fire in the Mountaingate area of Brentwood, those living in nearby Mandeville Canyon remained on edge.

It was 30 years ago October 23rd that a fire destroyed homes and caused more than $70 million in damage.  Residents along the winding road got word early this morning from their Homeowners Association that having a packed car ready to roll was a good idea.

"I got two emails this morning," says Mandeville Canyon Resident Michael Brennan, "One told me to pack the car, the other said the fire had been contained."

Mandeville Canyon is home to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a fact that comforts some who live here.  Joyce Ross told NBC4's John Cadiz Klemack the road that leads to his home was guarded all night by firefighters in Suburbans.  "In those respects, I feel safe knowing he lives here," she said.

The 1978 fire burned thousands of acres.  One newspaper article of that day called it a "$70 Million Holocaust."  Another's headlines said, "Little Tornados of Hell Killed Posh Canyon Dreams."  So watching the smoke rise over the mountaintop made today's residents of the canyon understandably concerned.

Meanwhile firefighters were able to control the burning embers.  Throughout the morning they doused the flames and drenched the hillsides, in the hopes nothing would flare up again.

And along the winding road of Mandeville Canyon, residents say they're thankful firefighters got this one down quickly.

Contact Us