UPDATED with evacuation order lifted: Residents of homes in the Pacific Palisades threatened by a brush fire that scorched 40 acres on a hillside in the tony neighborhood of Los Angeles can return to their homes, according to Los Angeles Police Department on Monday night.
Earlier in the day, the Los Angeles Fire Department ordered mandatory evacuations for the so-called Palisades Fire, impacting about 200 homes. The fire, which was first reported at 10:39 AM PT and was terrain-driven (meaning wind was not a factor), had cleared out residents in the area bordered by Charmel Lane on the west, Bienveneda Avenue on the east, the end of Lachman Lane on the north, and Merivale Lane on the south.
Fire officials said the evacuations were “due to both potential fire and smoke behavior as well as the pending arrival of large fixed-wind retardant dropping aircraft.” The order was quickly followed this afternoon by at least two retardant-dropping planes arriving on the scene. The fight played out live on local TV news and the smoke was visible across the region.
No structures were reported damaged. Two minor injuries have been reported, the LAFD said. At about 6 PM, LAFD officials said residents with identification living off Palisades Drive in Palisades Highlands were being allowed back into their homes with a police escort.
The fire, which started on a hillside at 800 Palisades Drive, eventually split into two flanks on the hillside — one on the southern side nearest the Pacific Ocean, the other further north. Footage showed some fire lick backyards along the ridgeline of the neighborhood well above Palisades Drive.
Throughout the morning and afternoon, smoke was visible across Los Angeles, and several water-dropping aircraft fighting the blaze could be seen from the busy 405 Freeway.
The latest wildfire comes as the region has been dealing with the Saddleridge Fire, which, spurred by the Santa Ana winds, began in Sylmar on October 10 and spread across the northern San Fernando Valley to Porter Ranch, destroying several homes. That fire scorched 8,799 acres, with 92% containment as of Monday night.
The Santa Anas were not a factor in the Palisades Fire, though no official cause has been determined. Those winds bring with them dangerously low humidity that create tinder-dry conditions, and a red-flag warning had been in effect in the area through late Sunday night.