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Firefighters stop 5-acre blaze near JPL

Brush fire at ridge near JPL facilities in La Cañada burned for more than an hour.

May 16, 2011|By Sara Cardine and Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com
  • A small, but very fast moving brush fire up a hillside behind JPL on Monday, May 16, 2011. The NASA fire department, and the Los Angeles County Fire Department battled the fire with water drops from helicopters, and ground crews. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)
A small, but very fast moving brush fire up a hillside behind…

Crews quickly put out a 5-acre brush fire Monday afternoon in the hills near the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge.

More than 100 firefighters responded to the fire in light to medium brush after it was reported about 12:33 p.m. Water-dropping helicopters were brought in as firefighters worked to catch the blaze at a ridge, Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Quvondo Johnson.

No injuries were reported, and JPL facilities were not damaged, officials said. The fire was knocked down at 1:53 p.m.

A spokeswoman for JPL said operations at the campus were unaffected.

At least three water-tanker helicopters made drops on the fire as it burned uphill near the 4800 block of Oak Grove Drive, said county fire department spokesman Don Kunatomi.

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Residents of homes on Starlight Crest Drive — wary of the devastating Station fire in 2009 — converged on a hilltop to watch the firefight from above.

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Andre Bogosian said he drove from his home on Angeles Crest Highway out of a concern for a friend who lived nearby.

“I saw the smoke and decided to check up on my friend,” he said.

Pasadena residents Dave Eaton and Adam Hitchcock, who were playing disc golf at Oak Grove Park, said the two helicopters had returned to the watershed at least 10 times.

“We saw a lot of smoke,” Eaton said. “It was only five or 10 minutes after we saw the smoke that the helicopters came.”

An investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing.

Earlier this month, forest service officials set the fire-danger level to “high.”

Jason Wells contributed to this report.
 
 

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