TOPANGA CANYON—Hundreds of Los Angeles County firefighters have joined in an effort to fight the 516-acre wildfire that overtook the Calabasas area Saturday, June 4, alongside other brush fires this weekend, and is now 80 percent contained.
Four-hundred firefighters and water-dropping helicopters worked to contain the inferno that has been dubbed as “Old Fire,” the Calabasas blaze that broke out at approximately 4:11 p.m. Saturday on the 23700 block of Mulholland Highway and is fueling itself on the high heat and dry winds of Southern California.
The fire scorched upwards of 200 acres with zero percent containment, raging on the steep hillside of the canyon, making it difficult for firefighters to make a direct attack.
Three Los Angeles Fire County firefighters suffered minor injuries on Saturday. Two suffered knee injuries from trudging uphill with fire hoses, and one suffered a cardiac episode. Two residential structures suffered minor damage and one commercial structure was destroyed, according to a press release from LACoFD.
The Los Angeles Fire Department posted their first update on the incident on their website at 4:21 p.m., reporting that there was “possible exposure to homes” as the fire roared uphill.
Close to 5,000 people from 37,000 homes in Topanga, Glenview, Topanga/Santa Maria, Old Topanga Canyon, and Topanga/Entrada were ordered to evacuate their homes Saturday, and shelter was coordinated for evacuees and their pets. Shelter for residents was stationed at Agoura Hills High School located at 28545 W. Driver Avenue. Shelter for large animals was stationed at Pierce College located at 6201 Winnetka Avenue in Woodland Hills. Shelter for small animals was stationed at the Agoura Hills Animal Shelter located at 29525 Agoura Road.
The LAFD indicated at 4:39 p.m. on their website that there were multiple active brush fires, including the newly spotted Kittridge Street and Valley Circle fires in West Hills.
The update clarified that the LAFD was fighting the Valley Circle Fire while the LACoFD contained Old Fire in the Topanga Canyon area. The LAFD ordered three strike teams (15 engines) to respond.
An update posted at 6:17 p.m. notified residents that crews would remain on scene throughout the evening, while “cutting a clear line around the burn and ensuring no hot spots.”
The Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station notified residents at approximately 9:30 p.m. that Topanga Boulevard would be closed from Pacific Coast Highway to Mulholland Highway.
Cooler temperatures on Sunday, June 5 allowed firefighters to extend containment lines to around 80 percent by 5 p.m., up from 30 percent at sunrise. It was 86 degrees in Woodland Hills at 2 p.m. on Sunday, 14 degrees cooler from the 100-degree temperatures 24 hours earlier.
Evacuations were lifted in Calabasas at 2 a.m., Sunday, but mandatory evacuations for Topanga remained in place throughout the day. All mandatory evacuations and road closures were lifted by 6 p.m. Sunday.
The immediate cause of the fire is still under investigation. Canyon News reached out to the LAFD and LACoFD for comment, but did not hear back before print.