SEP 05, 2017 6:40 PM PDT

La Tuna ravages LA

A wildfire that began Friday and ravaged the La Tuna Canyon Park area of the Verdugo Mountains, threatening the Los Angeles Country, has now been 70% contained as of this morning, according to the LA Times.

Authorities are calling it the La Tuna fire and experts from the National Weather Service have commented that the heat wave and high winds in the Los Angeles area contributed to the "large plume growth and extreme fire behavior.” For a time, parts of Interstate 210, one main traffic throughway in Los Angeles, was shut down due to gusting winds making the blaze unpredictable. It was reopened Sunday.

California Governor Jerry Brown issued a state of emergency for Los Angeles County on Sunday after the fire had already been raging for two days. Approximately 700 people evacuated Glendale and Burbank while state personnel and equipment set about controlling the 7,000-acre fire.

“We hit this hard, we hit it fast and we’ve done everything we can and we’re proud to say out of those nearly 1,400 homes, only five have been destroyed and that we’ve been really able to jump from 30% to 70% containment,” Los Angeles Fire Department Captain Erik Scott said today.

L.A. County firefighter fights the fire on Sunday. Photo: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti coined La Tuna as the biggest fire in LA’s history. Authorities have yet to determine the cause of the fire but as of now, there was no sign that arson occurred.

Some of the containment of the blaze has been due to precipitation and lower temperatures from Tropical Storm Lidia. Yet Jet Propulsion Laboratory climatologist Bill Patzert said September is “the heat wave month;” he cautioned that the risk of wildfires will stay high as vegetation keep drying out through the season. “The simple formula is that fire equals fuel, plus ignition, plus meteorology,” he said Monday. Although the region received high levels of rain last winter, this spring has been dry.

“But the rainfall we did have really encouraged the brush and especially the grasses. … So, we were primed for fires all over the Southland. And we’re definitely not done,” Patzert said. “The fire season is the Santa Ana winds season and historically that’s October, with November being the peak of the old fire season.”

Sources: LA Times, CNN, CBS News

About the Author
BA Environmental Studies
Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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