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Monrovia brush fire up to 150 acres, more homes evacuated

April 20, 2013|By Bettina Boxall

The brush fire in Monrovia has increased to more than 150 acres, and at least 100 homes have been evacuated as a precautionary measure, officials said.

No structures were immediately threatened, said Jennifer McLain, a city spokeswoman.

The fire spread from the backyard of a home near Crescent Drive and Madison Avenue, where it was apparently ignited by a spark from a gardening tool about 11 a.m., McLain said.

PHOTOS: Fire in Monrovia

Crews from Los Angeles County, the city of Los Angeles, the U.S. Forest Service, Monrovia and several nearby cities are trying to keep the flames from spreading into the San Gabriel Mountains.  Sixty-five fire engines, five water-dropping helicopters and two bulldozers were on the scene and more engines were on the way.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles firefighters have contained a 4-acre brush fire that forced the closure of all southbound lanes on the 405 Freeway near Victory Boulevard in Van Nuys on Saturday afternoon.

The lanes were closed at 3:17 p.m. Fifty minutes later, two lanes were opened, and just before 6, a spokeswoman for the California Highway Patrol said the remaining lanes should open shortly. She said it would probably be another hour before the on-ramp to the southbound 405 was opened.

The fire started in grass next to the freeway and then burned into brush and trees, said Erik Scott, a Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman. No structures were threatened, although firefighters checked a nearby homeless encampment, which was empty. About 50 firefighters and two water-dropping helicopters had the blaze contained by 4:30 p.m.

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bettina.boxall@latimes.com

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