2 Firefighters Hit by Falling Rocks as Palisades Fire Remains 30% Contained

Updated 10:41 a.m. October, 23

Palisades Fire at 45 acres

By Sam Catanzaro

As of 9 a.m. Tuesday, the Palisades Fire has grown to 45 acres with containment still at 30 percent as two firefighters have been hospitalized after being hit by falling rocks battling steep, rugged terrain. The blaze has damaged eight structures and with dry gusts of wind expected to reach 40 mph, the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) is advising Pacific Palisades residents to be prepared to evacuate if directed.

The Palisades Fire broke out around 10:30 a.m. Monday, October 21. The fire’s initial location was corrected by the LAFD Tuesday to 800 N Palisades Drive from 500 N Palisades Drive.

As of Wednesday morning, the structures previously threatened and evacuated remains at 628, while structures with damage is reported at eight, according to the LAPD. There has been no loss of human life or structures destroyed by this blaze. 

“Firefighters remained engaged through the night holding containment lines. Northerly wind gusts, up to 45 mph, blew embers in a southwest direction across Palisades Drive. However, firefighters prevented embers from creating spot fires and called in helicopters to make 5 water drops on smoldering debris. Last night’s infrared flight showed countless hotspots throughout the 45 acre fire footprint,” said Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) public information officer Brian Humphrey. “Firefighters continue to make progress during extreme fire weather conditions in preparation of tomorrow’s Santa Ana winds.”

At 8 p.m. Monday, all evacuation orders were lifted from the Palisades Fire but the LAFD is advising residents who return home to be on alert.

“Fire Crews are working vigorously ahead of an anticipated Red Flag Fire Weather conditions that are expected to begin Thursday morning through Friday evening. We anticipate winds to be between 10 and 25 mph, gusts up to 40 mph, with low relative humidity and increased temperatures. The Los Angeles Fire Department encourages you to be prepared in the event of a brush fire. For those of living near current wildfire incidents, be vigilant and keep your TV or radio on. Make certain you have your family critical papers, phone data, pets and other valuables ready to evacuate if so directed,” Humphrey said.

According to Humphrey, three firefighters have been injured fighting the blaze. On Wednesday, two firefighters were taken to the hospital after being struck by falling rocks. One civilian was taken to the hospital Monday with a respiratory issue.

628 structures have been previously threatened and evacuated. 295 total personnel have been assigned to the fire across a range of agencies.

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), CAL FIRE, Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD), L.A. Emergency Management Department (EMD), L.A. Department of Recreation and Parks (RAP), L.A. Department of Water and Power (DWP), SoCal Gas, American Red Cross, L.A. Public Works, Department of Transportation (DOT) and Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority (LAHSA) are among the cooperating agencies.

“Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC) offers a grateful thank you to all of the first responders who protected our community…We also saw many instances of neighbors helping neighbors in the threatened area and in the greater Palisades,” PPCC said in a statement. “This is not an isolated incident or threat. Wildfires are a way of life in Pacific Palisades.  The last super fire that burned through the Santa Monica Mountains interface with Pacific Palisades and Brentwood was 1978, when many homes were lost and St. Matthews Church burned to the ground.  Much of the native growth has been untouched by fire since then.”

The cause of the fire has yet to be determined. 

For more information on preparing to evacuate, visit https://www.lafd.org/ready-set-go.

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