Los Angeles brush fire forces hundreds to flee homes

Photo courtesy KHQ

By Nicole Chavez and Joe Sutton, CNN

(CNN) -- About 200 homes were evacuated Friday after a brush fire broke out near Los Angeles, sending massive plumes of smoke into the air and shutting down an interstate highway, a fire department spokeswoman said.

In just a few hours, the La Tuna fire has burned 2,000 acres in the La Tuna Canyon Park area of the Verdugo Mountains, the Los Angeles Fire Department tweeted.

Over 260 firefighters were working to put down the blaze but as of Friday night, it was only 10% contained, said Margaret Stewart, a spokeswoman with the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Hot temperatures and high winds reported on Friday in the Los Angeles area contributed to the fire's "very large plume growth and extreme fire behavior," National Weather Service office in Los Angeles said.

Police shut down all traffic on the 210 Freeway in Los Angeles as the fire intensified and spread across the highway, officials said. The highway remained closed Friday night.

No homes were damaged and no injures were reported Friday night.

Authorities ordered additional mandatory evacuations late Friday night when the fire continued growing and also threatened homes in Burbank, California.

The National Interagency Fire Center says there are currently, 88 large fires have burned 1.2 million acres in Western states and Alaska. Some of them have been ignited by thunderstorm activity.

Firefighters working to control the fire and those living in much of southwest California will see "near record breaking heat" on Saturday.

"These weather factors will result in the potential for rapid fire spread in the warned area through at least Saturday evening," the weather service said.


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