LA County

Fourth of July Fire Scorches Hillside Near La Habra Heights Homes

Authorities are investigating whether illegal fireworks sparked several fires across Los Angeles on the Fourth of July

Firefighters prevented a brush fire from spreading to homes in Rowland Heights-La Habra heights border late Tuesday during a busy Fourth of July for firefighters in Southern California.

The call came in at around 10:23 p.m. in the area of Fullerton and Harbor roads, about 20 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. It was one of several fires that broke out during the Fourth of July, and authorities are attempting to determine whether they were sparked by illegal fireworks.

The two-acre blaze threatened structures, but no evacuations were ordered. The bulk of the fire was out by early Wednesday, said supervisor Michael Pittman.

There were no reports of damage to any structures. Authorities said defensible space -- an area around a structure where brush and other things that can catch fire have been removed -- played a key role in protecting residences.

"This is an extremely high fire danger zone," said Asst. Chief Ron Myers, of the La Habra Heights Fire Department. "The residents understand that. They typically do not use fireworks or other devices like barbecues in an unsafe manner because they know when a fire gets loose in the Heights here, it can cause a lot of damage and people can lose their lives."

Firefighters were at the scene to monitor hot spots and flare ups overnight during a busy evening for fire departments across the region. 

A "well-involved" house fire in the 16400 block of Las Robles in Hacienda Heights was knocked down in 15 minutes later Tuesday, Pittman said. Additionally, at least one resident was displaced after another fire early Wednesday in Azusa.

"Fireworks have been going off all week," said Azusa resident Wendy Barragan. "I wouldn't doubt if that would be the case because it's been ongoing all week, every day."

Barragan and her family live next door to the property that burned 

"I started running and grabbed the water hose, but when I was getting close the flames started getting me," said Jose Barragan.

County fire authorities suspect these fires, including the brush fire in Rowland Heights, were caused by fireworks, but each case is still under investigation.

Residents in the Glassell Park and Bell Gardens areas reported tree fires, possibly sparked by fireworks, according to witnesses. Water-dropping helicopters knocked out another brush fire on a Porter Ranch hillside.

San Bernardino County Fire reported responding to at least 53 separate vegetation fires as of 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, many of which were fireworks related.

NBC4's Jonathan Lloyd and Toni Guinyard contributed to this report.

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