BEL AIR - A 90 acre wildfire in the Sepulveda Pass threatened Bel-Air canyon estates, congested traffic across the Westside, and had firefighters relentlessly battling flames for three days in record-breaking heat.
On September 14, 2012 at 3:36 PM, a fire broke out along Sepulveda Boulevard near Getty Center Drive, just east of the 405 freeway. First arriving firefighters reported two acres burning in heavy brush. The blaze quickly spread beyond the capability of the initial responders and further assistance was immediately requested.
Weather conditions included extreme heat and low relative humidity. The Brush Burning Index was High at a reading of 104. The lack of strong wind was the only help mother nature provided firefighters.
An aggressive attack with hose-lines and precise aerial water drops ensued as flames quickly continued to spread eastward to over 10 acres. Firefighters were strategically placed to protect threatened residences. Additional air support was needed as well as assistance from neighboring departments. Los Angeles County FD helicopters, hand crews, and fixed winged Super Scoopers were deployed to help battle the blaze. In addition, Beverly Hills, Culver City, and Santa Monica Fire Departments assisted the LAFD. At the peak of the fire there were over three hundred firefighters from five agencies fighting the blaze, many of whom kept the devastating 1961 Bel-Air fire in the back of their minds.
Even with all this manpower and equipment the flames quickly scorched 70 acres and was 40% contained by 7:00 PM Friday. Crews continued to tirelessly hike ridge lines, using hand tools to cut a fire barrier.
No formal evacuations were issued, however residents were cautioned to be ready to leave at a moment's notice if conditions worsened. At one point on Friday, The Getty Center voluntarily evacuated, eight Torahs were removed from Leo Baeck Temple as a precaution, and Mount St. Mary's College cleared the campus. Later that evening Sepulveda Boulevard reopened to commuters, which alleviated traffic havoc in an area already cluttered with construction equipment associated with the widening of the freeway.
Rotating shifts of firefighters remained on scene for three days, then early Sunday afternoon they peered victoriously over 90 scorched acres that was finally 100% contained. Firefighters then began picking up thousands of feet of hose-line and equipment draped across steep rugged terrain.
Once units demobilized, two Brush Patrols and one Engine Company maintained a "Fire Watch" to quickly extinguish any possible flare-ups until a reevaluation on Monday morning.
Due to the tenacious work and amazing job of all firefighters and many allied agencies, all under the command of Assistant Chief Kwame Cooper, we are proud to state that no structures were damaged and no one was injured.
The cause of the fire in under active investigation.
Dispatched LAFD Units: E19 E71 E37 E59 E237 T37 E289 T89 E292 T92 H0B H0C BC9 BC18 E62 E109 E90 H1 H3 RA88 DC3 T90 E290 WT88 RA909 T39 E239 E99 E39 E102 T60 E260 EM9 BC14 E58 T63 E263 T61 E261 E41 E27 E6S E84 WT77 RA37 BC4 BC17 CP2 RM2 E105 E87 E7 T93 E293 E86 E26 E15 E94 E5 T33 E233 BP23 BP83 BP78 BP28 BP8 HL1 LO1 H2 E63 E34 T26 E226 E10 E95 E100 T11 E211 E103 E72 E8 RA90 T90 E290 BC10 RA19 RA92 RA69 EM88 EM14 BC5 BC11 DC715 CW3A CW3B RA860 AR2 E41 H733 AR2 EL83 E11 E9 E98 E12 E61 E48 H1 E29 E2 EA1 E67 E97 E14 E18 BP41 BC1 BC12 RA58 E83 RT83 E27 E10 E3 E21 EM9 E37 E63 E33 E64 E66 E94 E95 E52 E85 E34 E100 E13 E7 E36 E39 E93 T20 E220 E60 E87 BC5 BC10 BC11 RA209 RA257 BP84 BP98 DT3 RA858 E6 H4 E469 BP94 BP28 BP84 EA1 WT88 AR2 BP8 BP94 BP78 E450 E401 BP28 E88 E5 E95 BC9 E435 BC11 LO1 RA15 BC707(VIDEO) (VIDEO) (PHOTOS)
Submitted by Erik Scott & Cecil Manresa, Spokesmen
Los Angeles Fire Department