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Mandatory evacuations ordered in Monrovia as brush fire grows

April 20, 2013|By Carlos Lozano
  • A firefighter wrangles a hose as brush burns in the hills of Monrovia on Saturday. As of 4 p.m., an official said no homes were on fire.
A firefighter wrangles a hose as brush burns in the hills of Monrovia on Saturday.… (Barbara Davidson, Los Angeles…)

Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for several Monrovia neighborhoods where a brush fire has grown to 50 acres, officials said.

The evacuations went into effect at 1:45 p.m. for several neighborhoods, including the Magnolia, Heather Heights, Alta Vista, Melrose, Patricia Way, Hidden Valley, Mesa Circle and Sky Way areas, said Jennifer McLain, a city spokeswoman.

The fire started shortly after 11 a.m. in the backyard of a home near Crescent Drive and Madison Avenue, McLain said. The fire spread to the hillside behind the residence, she said.

PHOTOS: Fire in Monrovia

An evacuation center has been set up at 119 Palm Ave., she said.

In addition to Monrovia firefighters, crews from Pasadena, Montebello, Arcadia, Los Angeles County and the U.S. Forest Service have been dispatched to the scene, she said. Firefighting planes and helicopters are also assisting.

A shortage of rain this season has produced especially dry conditions that have firefighters on alert for brush fires.

In the hills of Los Angeles County, tests show the brush is drying out at a significantly quicker rate this year because of the lack of rain.

In Ventura County, firefighters say the parched conditions feel like what they typically see in June or July. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, which handles fire protection for about a third of the state, said it has dealt with 150 more blazes far this year compared with 2012.

Calfire announced that it was deploying fire crews early this year in some areas, including the Inland Empire, because of what it described as "extreme" dry conditions.

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carlos.lozano@latimes.com

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