Largest wildfire in Los Angeles history forces hundreds to evacuate

By Alex Dobuzinskis | Reuters | September 2, 2017

The La Tuna Canyon fire over Burbank. REUTERS/Kyle Grillot

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A wildfire on the northern edge of Los Angeles rapidly grew on Saturday into what the mayor called the largest blaze in the city’s history, prompting the evacuation of hundreds of people and the closure of a major highway.

The 5,000-acre (2,023-hectare) La Tuna Fire, named after the canyon area where it erupted on Friday, has led authorities to evacuate more than 700 homes in a north Los Angeles neighborhood and in nearby Burbank and Glendale, officials said.

Authorities warned of erratic winds that could force them to widen the evacuation zone, after the fire destroyed three houses in Los Angeles on Saturday.

“Other than that, no loss of any property,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a news conference. “That is a pretty amazing thing.”

The fire was only 10 percent contained with more than 500 firefighters battling it.

The blaze in thick brush that has not burned in decades was slowly creeping down a rugged hillside on Saturday toward houses, with temperatures in the area approaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius), the Los Angeles Fire Department said in an alert.

“This fire, which broke out yesterday, we can now say is the largest fire in the history of L.A. city, in terms of its acreage,” Garcetti told reporters.

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