La Tuna Fire, one of the largest in LA history, burns thousands of acres

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The La Tuna Fire continues to burn near Burbank, Glendale and Sun Valley, scorching at least 5,800 acres of brush. The fire was about 10% contained, authorities said Saturday.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti declared a state of emergency and asked Gov. Jerry Brown to declare one as well.

"There is a continued threat of significant damage to property," the mayor's declaration read.

Two homes and one other structure in the Tujunga area were destroyed, officials confirmed.

Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas said that the three structures that were lost did not have brush cleared, as required by municipal codes.

"Give us a chance to save your house. If it’s not clear, the fire is going to burn all the way to your house," Terrazas said. "It gives us defensible space."

No civilian deaths were reported, a fact that Terrazas described as "amazing."

By late Saturday, two firefighters were taken to the hospital for dehydration, but were reported to be in stable condition, LAFD officials said.

A helicopter from the L.A. County Fire Department provides air support to crews battling the La Tuna Fire burns in the hills above Burbank on September 2, 2017.
A helicopter from the L.A. County Fire Department provides air support to crews battling the La Tuna Fire burns in the hills above Burbank on September 2, 2017. LaCoFireAirOps/Twitter

EVACUATIONS

At least 300 homes were initially evacuated in Burbank, 250 in Glendale and 180 in Los Angeles. By 10 p.m., all evacuations in Burbank were lifted. Below were the evacuations that remain in place:

Mandatory Evacuations

  • Glenwood Oaks area in Glendale: end of Boston Avenue, El Lado Drive, Cedarbend Drive, Tanbark Place, Ferntree Place and Beechglen Drive
  • New York Ave area in Glendale - Mountain Oaks Park, Celita Way, Kadletz Road
  • McGroarty Park area in Tujunga
  • Wornan Avenue, south of Sunland in Tujunga
  • Morning Glow, south of La Tuna Canyon Road in Sun Valley
The La Tuna Fire burns in the hills above Burbank, early September 2, 2017.
The La Tuna Fire burns in the hills above Burbank, early September 2, 2017. ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Voluntary Evacuations

  • Whiting Wood Area in Glendale - Whiting Woods Road, Lockerbie Lane, Lockerbie Court, Hilway Drive, Mesa Lila Road, Mesa Lila Lane
  • Haines Canyon area in Tujunga - Charrick Drive, Charrick Place, Estepa Drive, Wexlord Drive
  • Aileen and Hillhaven in Tujunga
  • McGroarty from Oro Vista to Plainview in Tujunga
  • Revierie area in Tujunga - Alene Drive to Hillhaven Avenue, Reverier, Glen Oaks Peace Parkway, Tranquil Drive, Inspiration Way, Tranquil Place, Hillhaven Place
  • In Sunland - Shadow Island Drive, Wornom Avenue and south of Sunland

Evacuation Centers

  • Sunland Recreation Center: 8651 Foothill Blvd., Sunland-Tujunga
  • McCambridge Park: 1515 N. Glenoaks Blvd., Burbank
  • Glendale Civic Auditorium: 1401 N. Verdugo Rd., Glendale
  • Crescenta Valley High School: 2900 Community Ave., La Crescenta (pets are welcome)
  • Hansen Dam Equestrian Center (for large animals), 11127 Orcas Ave, Sylmar

Many roads have been blocked off roads and the smoke is thick near the La Tuna Fire, burning in the hills above Burbank, early September 2, 2017.
Many roads have been blocked off roads and the smoke is thick near the La Tuna Fire, burning in the hills above Burbank, early September 2, 2017. Kyle Stokes / KPCC

ROAD CLOSURES

By late Saturday, the eastbound 210 Freeway was closed at Wheatland to Lowell avenues, and the westbound 210 Freeway was closed from the 2 Freeway to Osborne Street.

The fire initially shut down the 210 on Friday afternoon, leaving a 12-mile stretch of the freeway closed going into the long Labor Day weekend.

Smoke forecast for La Tuna Fire from Saturday to Monday.
Smoke forecast for La Tuna Fire from Saturday to Monday.

AIR QUALITY

Due to poor air quality, the Burbank Police Department is asking people to stay indoors, limit your recreational activities and keep pets indoors.

KPCC's Chief Financial Officer Elsa Luna lives in Sun Valley, just a few blocks from Burbank.

She and her family planned to stay indoors Saturday with the windows closed.

"The air quality is definitely not good," Luna said. "I felt it first thing this morning. I have heavy allergies. The smoke outside makes it pretty thick and a little muddy, you can definitely smell smell some type of fire or amber."

Luna also said ash has been falling from the sky sporadically.

The South Coast AQMD has issued a smoke advisory for the East San Fernando Valley, the West San Gabriel Valley and the San Gabriel Mountains. That covers the areas of Sunland, Tujunga and La Crescenta, as well as other communities.

scaqmd tweet

WEATHER

Along with winds, firefighters had to deal with high temperatures. On Friday temperatures reached 107. It stayed hot Saturday with temperatures topping 100.

Temperatures in the following days should drop to highs of 88, according to forecasts, which should make fighting the fires easier. 

A fire burning in the Sun Valley area on Friday, Sept. 1, 2017 that forced the closure of the 210 Freeway in both directions.
A fire burning in the Sun Valley area on Friday, Sept. 1, 2017 that forced the closure of the 210 Freeway in both directions. NBC L.A.

WHAT WE KNOW

The initial call for the fire came in shortly before 1:30 p.m. Friday, LAFD spokesperson Margaret Stewart said.

The LAFD thought they had stopped the forward progress of the fire, but high winds led to a spot fire leaping across the 210 Freeway, about a quarter of a mile away. The fire grew from there. 

Residents in Burbank, Glendale and other parts of greater Los Angeles could see the fire burning late into Friday night.

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Brace Canyon Park resident Frank Kayden was woken up by his son and daughter alerting him to the fire. 

“So I got out of bed and went in the backyard, and I can see the flames come on over,” Kayden said.

Police later arrived at his door to told him to evacuate. He spent the night at the Red Cross Shelter at McCambridge Park.

More than 800 firefighters from LAFD were battling the La tuna Fire, which quickly grew to become one of the largest in the city of L.A.'s history. Crews from several other fire departments including the Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena, L.A. County and Angeles National Forest, were assisting.

Mayor Garcetti on Saturday morning incorrectly called it the largest fire in the city's history. In 1961, the Bel Air fire burned 6,090 acres and destroyed 484 homes, according to LAFD historical archives.

This story has been updated.

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