Firefighters Spare Homes in Encino Hills Wildfire

Saturday, August 26, 2006 |

On Saturday, August 26, 2006 at 2:05 PM, forty Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, two LAFD Rescue Ambulances, one Arson Unit, five LAFD Helicopters, one EMS Battalion Captain, one LAFD Helitender, LAFD Emergency Air, one LAFD Rehab Air Tender, four LAFD Brush Patrols, eleven LAFD Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and one LAFD Division Chief Officer Command Team, as well as eight Handcrews and two Helicopters from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, all under the direction of LAFD Assistant Chief Roderick Garcia responded to a Major Emergency Brush Fire near 4501 Encino Avenue in Encino.

Firefighters on the ground and in the air responded quickly to find five acres of medium to heavy brush burning in terrain surrounding the Encino Reservoir.

A mild off-shore breeze at first pushed the fire in a southwest direction towards more than a dozen homes in what proved to be a wind and terrain driven fire.

More than 250 Los Angeles Firefighters, nearly a quarter of the Department's on-duty force, were ultimately brought to battle flames in the steep and rugged terrain of the Santa Monica Mountains surrounding the 209 acre reservoir.

Seven water-dropping helicopters, including an annually LAFD-leased high impact Erickson Air-Crane Helitanker, on it's first local deployment of this year's wildfire season, worked with immense precision to stop the spread of the fire, as ground crews flanked the flames.

A sudden shift in winds allowed some spot fires to hook at the south side of the reservoir, but their presence was short-lived in the face of an effective aerial assault and the onslaught of crews separating fuel from fire with handtools.

It was during this arduous phase of fire attack in thick chaparral that one Los Angeles County Fire Department Handcrew member sustained multiple bee stings, provoking a medical reaction and need for transport to Encino Hospital via LAFD Ambulance. His injury was not believed to be life-threatening.

No other injuries were reported.

Firefighters took full advantage of tactical pre-planning, including the factors of wind, terrain and historical fire behavior to ultimately spare any home from damage.

The fire, which consumed nearly sixty acres of vegetation, was fully contained in just three hours and thirty-two minutes. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.

(video) (images) (slideshow)

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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Louis Kroll said...

I was coming home to Tarzana travelling e/b when I saw the smoke. I was on the South end of Reseda Bl. watching the LAFD protecting a ridge, where homes lay immediately to the West.

We citizens are proud of our LAFD and it was impressive watching them make quick work of protecting people's homes. Well Done!

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