Fire officials said cooler temperatures and calmer winds Sunday should help firefighters tame a nearly 5,900-acre fire burning in the Verdugo Mountains north of downtown Los Angeles, but warned that favorable weather conditions could change quickly.
“The biggest challenge and risk is the wind,” Los Angeles Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas said.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has declared a local emergency and asked Gov. Jerry Brown to do the same as firefighters continue to battle the La Tuna fire that so far has destroyed three homes, closed a freeway and forced hundreds to evacuate.
Firefighters were hoping for some relief from a heat wave that has gripped much of the state for days. Temperatures are expected to cool somewhat Sunday to 90 to 94 degrees, with a chance of some showers and lightning, remainders of Tropical Storm Linda. Winds are expected to blow 3 to 8 mph, with gusts of up to 12 mph.
“That can change in a moment’s notice and the wind can accelerate very quickly,” Terrazas warned.
The fire was believed to be the largest in L.A. city history in terms of sheer acreage, officials said. The blaze has destroyed three homes in Tujunga. Two firefighters were transported to hospitals for dehydration and were in stable condition, according to the L.A. Fire Department.