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Verdugo Mountains Fire 70% Contained

September 11, 2002|WENDY THERMOS and RICHARD FAUSSET | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

Low winds and steady help from water-dropping aircraft allowed firefighters to gain the upper hand on a stubborn brush fire that burned for a second day along the steep slopes of the Verdugo Mountains above Glendale, fire officials said Tuesday.

"The fire isn't heading anywhere," Glendale Fire Capt. Thomas Marchant said. "It's just a matter of getting around what's burning at this point."

Authorities said the 1,100-acre fire, which they described as being of suspicious origin, was about 70% contained by late Tuesday.

Crews were concentrating on putting out hot spots and clearing brush, they said.

As many as 600 firefighters, double the number Monday, were stationed across the foothills between Glendale and La Crescenta on Tuesday.

Three firefighters were hospitalized with minor injuries, including heat exhaustion.

Two Super Scooper airplanes, two tankers and four helicopters rained water on the flames, halting their advance despite worries early in the day that the fire would triple in size because of conditions that included 90-degree temperatures, low humidity and rugged, inaccessible terrain.

Beaudry Terrace resident Steve Wind watched the action just over the ridge behind his home.

''I took pictures of this mountain yesterday, and it looked like a nuclear bomb had gone off,'' the graphic designer said.

Wind, who has lived in the neighborhood for about a year, said he was concerned about living in an area with a lot of brush.

"I always look around and say to myself, 'If fire hits these hills, we're in trouble.' But what are you going to do?" he said.

"I like seeing the big Super Scooper planes coming by. As long as they're dropping water, I feel reasonably safe."

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