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UPDATE: Fire erupts in Saugus

Posted: August 1, 2014 3:45 p.m.
Updated: August 1, 2014 5:46 p.m.

Hand crew members from Camp Nine wave to an L.A. County Fire Department helicopter as it lifts off after picking up another hand crew during a five-acre fire near Bouquet Canyon Road and south of Plum Canyon Road on Friday in Saugus. Signal photo by Dan Watson

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More than 100 fire-fighting personnel — aided by three helicopters and even a couple of water trucks from a nearby construction site — doused a wind-blown brush fire Friday that blackened five acres of hillside on rugged land south of Plum Canyon Road in Saugus.

Burning in a bowl-shaped canyon between Golden Valley Road and Bouquet Canyon Road and fed by 15 mph winds, the blaze, dubbed by fire officials the Valley Fire, broke out at about 3:20 p.m. It was knocked down at about 3:54 p.m.

But crews of inmates who are part of county fire-fighting program were still mopping up isolated hot spots hours after the flames were knocked down.

No homes were threatened and no injuries were reported, Los Angeles County Fire Department Battalion Chief Gary Harris said.

Firefighters arrived within minutes of the start of the blaze, setting up a line of equipment along a ridge at the end of a fire road off Golden Valley Road.

More than 20 fire engines were dispatched, Harris said, including the three water-dropping helicopters.

“We fly, on two of those three helicopters, hand crews that go to the top of the fire and immediately go to work,” Harris said. “Our goal is, yes, to release a massive amount of equipment to keep (the fire) small.”

Despite the large number of personnel sent to the fire, Harris said, the response was “standard dispatch” for the L.A. County Fire.

“Our standard response for a brush fire is larger than any municipal organization in the United States, and the reason is we want to jump on it fast, keep the fire small,” Harris said.

“If we can keep the fire small, it reduces our risk downstream from the fire, to homes, to people.”

Fire crews received additional help from water trucks on site for Murow CM, a Santa Ana construction consultant working at a nearby development.

The company’s water trucks drove to the top of the ridge and released hundreds of gallons of water down the hillside, helping to douse hot spots.

“They had water tenders in the area and were assisting,” Harris said.



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