Brentwood News
Smoking Youths Caused Mandeville Canyon Fire
By Daniel Antolin
Sep 8, 2011 - 10:10:58 PM

Helicopter drops water on 40-acre brushfire. Photo courtesy of LAFD.
BRENTWOOD—On Thursday, September 8, cigarette smoke was determined to be the cause of a 40-acre Mandeville Canyon brushfire west of the Sepulveda Pass that started on Labor Day and was completely extinguished two days later by more than 200 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel.

"The cause of the fire was determined accidental in nature, and was attributed to two young males smoking," LAFD spokespersons Brian Humphrey and Erik Scott said in a news release.

"Our office has not been apprised of any persons being arrested," Humphrey later posted on the LAFD website.

Brentwood Patch previously reported that a 15-year-old's lit cigarette was the cause of the fire.

Two male firefighters, one from the LAFD and another from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Camp Crew 16, were transported to a local hospital in fair to serious condition as a result of heat-related injuries, Scott tweeted on September 7 at 10:19 p.m. after the fire was announced 100 percent contained.

Before 12 p.m., Scott told Canyon News that he had not yet heard from his field commander regarding the progress of the brushfire since the night before.

On September 6, at 7:06 p.m., LAFD spokeperson Matt Spence tweeted that 80 percent of the brushfire had been contained, which he said torched 40 acres of dense vegetation. This was based on an aerial survey of the area.

There has been no structure damage since the brushfire was reported to the LAFD as occurring at 3683 N. Mandeville Canyon Road on September 5 at 4:10 p.m. LAFD tweeted at the time that firefighter teams were still en route while the fire was slowly moving north. LAFD has since reported that the fire was actually moving quickly when it was first discovered to the east of Mandeville Canyon and north of Mountain Gate Country Club.

LAFD tweeted on this date that no structures were immediately near where the fire was first spotted, and the department has since said that this is because of the "swift and aggressive" efforts of dozens of ground crews to beat back the flames.

According to a September 5 tweet from Humphrey, firefighters kept the brushfire abated to about 10 acres as of 10:34 p.m., and that they were working to put out a remaining 50 percent of the blaze throughout the night. Los Angeles County Fire Department camp crews arrived to assist them.

Residents evacuated their homes on the day the brushfire broke, which was initially limited to five acres at a time when the temperature in the area was at 92 degrees. Slow moving wind and wind gusts helped them in their efforts to keep the fire from spreading any further.

Super scooper plane on its way to pick up water. Photo courtesy of Will Maguire.
Will Maguire, a Los Angeles-based attorney, tweeted a photo at 5:50 p.m. of a super scooper plane that was on its way to the Pacific Ocean to pick up 1,600 gallons of water to later drop on the fire. It is one of several planes leased to the LAFD from Canada for this purpose.

Fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters dropping water have also been credited with stemming the advance of the fire at 40 acres.

Later, at 10:27 p.m., residents were allowed to return to their homes. "Severe computer problems" during the height of the fire delayed Humphrey from immediately altering residents about this via Twitter.

Since the Mandeville brushfire broke on Labor Day, LAFD had been tackling other blazes in La Tuna Canyon, the Sepulveda Pass, the Agua Dulce area and Tehachapi.

Ed Shanks, a local resident, was nonetheless grateful for firefighters' efforts. "Just arrived back home in Mandeville. Thank you @LAFD for giving us one to come home to," Shanks tweeted.

"Firefighters maintained a heavy presence and kept a close eye on the burn area throughout the four days, ensuring the the volatile vegetation would not reignite, to keep residents safe,
" Humphrey and Scott said.

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