Model Plane Suspected Cause of 30 Acre Wildfire

Monday, July 16, 2012 |

SAN FERNANDO VALLEY - More than 100 firefighters responded by ground and air to battle a fast-moving thirty-acre grass fire in the Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area on Monday afternoon.

The wildfire was reported at 12:18 PM on July 16, 2012, south of 6400 Woodley Avenue, within a 2,000 acre public reserve of undeveloped land in the south San Fernando Valley, that serves as a seasonal flood control basin.

Light but variable winds fanned flames in three-foot tall grass that led to thicker and more volatile vegetation, as the fire quickly grew. Los Angeles Fire Department helicopters performed precise aerial water drops to help contain the forward movement of the fire, as LAFD ground crews deftly flanked the flames.

Wildfire Scorches More than 30 acres in Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area. © Photo by Mike Meadows. Click to view more...They were soon joined by five Los Angeles County Fire Department handcrews, four of their Supervisors and an LACoFD helicopter to collectively contain the fire in just 47 minutes.

The flames were fully extinguished in less than 90 minutes. A preliminary estimate of twenty acres burned was increased to 30.5 acres following a more detailed assessment once the smoke cleared. No structures were threatened or damaged, and there was no need for evacuation.

No injuries were reported.

Firefighters suspect that a radio-controlled model aircraft from the nearby Apollo XI Model Aircraft Flying Field, may have landed unintentionally in the tinder dry grass, sparking the blaze. Los Angeles Police Officers interviewed witnesses at the scene for what remains an active investigation.
Dispatched LAFD Units: E100 BC10 E90 WT88 E88 E88 H0D H1 E83 E81 RA100 E290 T90 E239 E39 T39 E273 T73 E93 DC3 EM15 BC14 H4 H6 E87 E70 E84 BC17 BC729 RT83 E89 E105 BP28
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Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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