Friday, January 17

Brush fire reported near LA, homes evacuated

Courtesy of Cleo Tobbi

Smoke and flames were visible on the horizon to some UCLA students leaving their dorms early Thursday as the traces of a major fire near Los Angeles quickly spread.

A fire broke out near Angeles National Forest Thursday morning, quickly spreading and burning through two houses and more than 1,700 acres near the city of Glendora, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

[UPDATED at 7:50 p.m. Five single family homes have been destroyed, while about 1,000 homes have been evacuated. One civilian and two firefighters have been injured. As of 4:45 p.m., the fire was 30 percent contained.]

Police have arrested three men, who were apparently camping in the area, for their role in accidentally starting the fire by tossing paper into a campfire, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Just before 6 a.m., a fire was reported above Glendora, and over the next several hours grew rapidly, aided by dry conditions and low humidity, said Los Angeles County Fire Captain Sam Padilla.

[UPDATED at 7:50 p.m. The Los Angeles County Fire Department’s responded with more than 700 personnel on both the ground and in the air, with eight helicopters and eight fixed-wing aircrafts, Padilla said.]

Eran Kalashyan, a second-year business economics student from Downey, a city south of Glendora, said her mom called her to ask how the sky looked from UCLA.

“She said the sky looked pretty strange today where she was, then called back to say there was a fire nearby and the backyard is covered in ash,” Kalashyan said.

[UDPATED at 7:50 p.m. Cleo Tobbi, a UC Irvine student who lives in the area, has seen fires before and even had “ash days” instead of snow days. But the flames have never been this close to her house.

“This was the worst I’ve ever seen it,” she said.

Tobbi’s family evacuated. They took their valuables and a change of clothes, then drove away.

Later, Tobbi’s mom drove back just to check on the house as the wind blew the flames away from her home. Some of her friends and acquaintances had stayed behind to try and defend their houses, hosing down oncoming flames.

“(It’s) brave, but not very good for your health,” Tobbi said.]

The South Coast Air Quality Management District has issued a smoke advisory for the portions of Los Angeles County most likely to be impacted by the smoke, including parts of east and south San Gabriel Valley and Pomona.

UCLA and the western areas of Los Angeles are currently not under advisory, but if the winds change, the Air Quality Management District could revise its forecast.

As operations against the Colby fire are ongoing, the fire department and news organizations will release updates as more information is gathered.

Compiled by Christopher Hurley, Bruin contributor.

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