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Embers of Brush Clearance Are Blamed as Fire Chars 85 Acres

January 21, 1987|GREG BRAXTON | Times Staff Writer

A fire fanned by erratic winds of up to 35 m.p.h. burned at least 85 acres of brush in the Newhall area Tuesday, threatening a film location, authorities reported.

The fire, which broke out shortly after 9 a.m., was almost fully extinguished by 1:30 p.m. without causing damage to structures, said Los Angeles County Fire Department officials.

The fire was most likely caused by smoldering embers or other hot material left from a county brush-clearance program about two weeks ago, said Battalion Chief Gordon S. Pearson. Even though the embers had been covered by dirt, they apparently still smoldered and ignited, he said.

The blaze began in the 25000 block of Running Horse Road and started burning westward along Placerita Canyon Road toward the Golden Oaks Ranch, where several Disney Westerns have been filmed, Pearson said.

Hand crews and bulldozers fought the fire and cleared brush on the ground while helicopters dropped retardant, he said.

"When the winds were blowing, it kept us from being totally effective," Pearson said. "But, when the winds died down, we were able to handle it. The hand crews and bulldozers were the big heroes."

Crews contained the blaze before it approached the ranch, he said.

The fire did not come close to Placerita Chaparral, a housing development in the area, but fire strike teams remained as a precaution for the duration of the fire.

The last major fire in the area was in 1980, Pearson said. He said another burn and brush-clearance program is scheduled in the area in the spring.

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