Topanga Fire

A five-acre brush fire was knocked down by the combined efforts of LA City and LA County Fire Departments on Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 13, with no structures damaged. 

The first 9-1-1 calls reporting the fire, which broke out behind a residential neighborhood known as The Highlands in Pacific Palisades, came in to LAFD at 2:16 p.m., according to information shared by LA City Fire Public Information Officer Nicholas Prange. Forward progress was officially reported stopped by 4:28 p.m.

The fire was initially reported as two acres burning uphill in medium to thick brush. 

“It’s fairly steep and fairly thick brush,” Prange described in a phone call around 3:10 p.m. Moments later, an update came in. While on the call with The Malibu Times, Prange was receiving updated information from crews on the ground at the fire.

“There’s not much active flame left,” Prange added. “Air support knocked out a huge chunk of it and the hand crews are going to finish off suppression on the ground.”

No structures were threatened at that point, Prange reported. 

Topanga Fire

Smoke from the Palermo Fire rises up on the ridge line, as seen from a home in Topanga.

“Initially, they were worried it could swing back around toward the neighborhood, but it doesn’t sound like they’re worried about that anymore; they’ve got a good handle on it,” he said.

In addition to a full brush assignment from LAFD, LA County Fire also deployed a full brush team as mutual aid to help fight the flames. Air support was dispatched from helipad Bravo 69 at the top of Rambla Pacifico in Malibu. 

“Air and ground crews have knocked down most of the active flames in the brush fire that burned uphill and away from the nearby homes,” a report from LAFD said at 3:26 p.m. “Crews continue to work to completely eliminate all hot spots in the area that is estimated to be just over two acres.” That estimate was eventually revised to be about five acres.

“Fortunately, the fire conditions were favorable, with nine mile per hour wind, 69 percent humidity, and 71 degree temperatures,” a report from the LAFD stated. “Firefighters acted quickly by air and ground to keep this fire relatively small.” The report also confirmed there were no reported injuries.

2019 Malibu Times Disaster Guide

As Malibu is now in the midst of fire season, The Malibu Times will be republishing segments of last year’s 2018 Fire Guide, as well as adding new segments covering fire as well as earthquake preparedness. Last fall’s Woolsey Fire taught our community and its leadership tough lessons about the reality of wildfires today, and those lessons will become topics in the ongoing series.

Last year’s topics covered:

• Prevention

• Insurance

• Generator Safety

• Letters of Agency

• Evacuations

What other topics would you like to see covered in the series? What fire- and earthquake-related questions do you have for local firefighters, city leaders and experts?

Please send your pitches and suggestions to Managing Editor Emily Sawicki at for consideration in the series.

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