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Blaze scorches 75 acres in hills

Homes in Agoura Hills and Calabasas are threatened, but no structures are destroyed and no one is injured.

August 27, 2008|Andrew Blankstein and Molly Hennessy-Fiske | Times Staff Writers

A fast-moving brush fire fueled by winds consumed at least 75 acres near Calabasas and Agoura Hills before it was contained before sundown Tuesday, authorities said.

Flames threatened homes on Liberty Canyon and Mountain Shadows roads as well as on Canwood Street on Tuesday afternoon, but no structures were destroyed and no one was injured, fire officials said.

"There are some areas where we're seeing some active flame, but it's mostly smoke," said Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Ron Harrelson, adding that firefighters were aided by low winds and temperatures in the 80s.

Voluntary evacuations were recommended, and Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies patrolled the streets to alert residents.

Firefighters said some residents gathered their belongings and left voluntarily.

Romaine Mazer, 71, could see the smoke from her town house at Liberty Canyon and Agoura roads but decided not to leave.

The mortgage loan officer is on crutches after a boating accident, so she phoned her two adult children to let them know she was OK.

"The flames have dissipated a bit and the smoke has thinned, so I'm staying put," said Mazer, a 20-year resident of the area.

Earlier Tuesday, flames threatened the Lost Hills sheriff's station up the road from her house, but by afternoon, officials said it was safe.

"We've never been burned, but it's come close," Mazer said. "I feel the Fire Department is really on it, and that's really comforting and encouraging."

The fire was reported about noon on the edge of Malibu Creek State Park south of the 101 Freeway.

More than 200 firefighters and four aircraft were battling the blaze Tuesday afternoon, said Inspector Frank Garrido.

The California Highway Patrol closed access ramps to the 101 at Liberty Canyon on Tuesday afternoon and urged drivers to avoid the area because clouds of dark smoke reduced visibility, CHP Officer Jose Nunez said.

Agoura Hills Mayor John Edelston, who went to check on the situation and speak with firefighters in the afternoon, said the blaze broke out in a popular recreation area with above-ground power lines where wildfires often erupted in the past.

"Frequently, it's just careless people, whether an ATVer or someone with a cigarette, or even power lines," Edelston said. "It's just ripe" for fire, he said.

Garrido said it was not immediately evident what caused the fire.

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andrew.blankstein@latimes.com

molly.hennessy-fiske@latimes.com

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