A brush fire along the San Diego Freeway in the Sepulveda Pass led to the evacuation of a private school Tuesday and charred 30 acres before firefighters squelched it by using Super Scooper planes for the first time in Los Angeles this fire season.
About 150 city firefighters and four helicopter crews fought the blaze shortly after noon near Skirball Center Way, shielding more than a dozen hillside homes and the Curtis School, an elementary and middle school attended by 532 students.
The county Fire Department assisted, providing the two Super Scoopers and a Helitanker helicopter. The Super Scoopers dropped water on the blaze west of the freeway, and ground crews poured fire retardant foam on vegetation around the school and homes. No one was injured and no property was damaged, authorities said.
"When we saw the smoke, and our security people saw there was a fire, we gathered our children and moved them up to a playing field some distance from the campus," said headmaster Stephen Switzer. "We don't want to take any chances with our children and faculty."
The nearby Skirball Cultural Center was not affected by the fire, a spokeswoman said.
Commuters saw a grass fire along the freeway and notified authorities about 12:10 p.m. The blaze quickly grew to cover two dozen acres and was being pushed uphill by a northerly wind, briefly threatening homes along Royal Woods and Castlewoods drives.
It took about 90 minutes to put the fire out, said city Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey. After extinguishing the flames, firefighters spent about an hour shooting foam on smoky hot spots.
"If we would have had other wind conditions, it could have been much worse," said Assistant Fire Chief Bill Ward.