Law Enforcement Reveals Cause of Southern California’s Skirball Fire

12/13/2017 09:45

by Chris Agee

 

One of several wildfires that continue to devastate large portions of California was ignited by a fire used for cooking, authorities announced this week.


In a statement Tuesday, officials indicated the Skirball Fire, which broke out Wednesday morning near Bel-Air, was traced to a homeless encampment near the 405 Freeway where an illegal flame sparked the major blaze.  According to KTLA, the blaze had burned more than 422 acres and destroyed at least six structures.

 

KTLA @KTLA

BREAKING: @LAFD says was caused by illegal cooking fire at hillside homeless encampment http://on.ktla .com/lkGFZ 

Skirball Fire Was Sparked by Illegal Cooking Flame at Hillside Encampment: LAFD

The Skirball Fire that destroyed six structures and burned 422 acres in the hills of Bel-Air was broke out because of an illegal cooking flame ignited at an area homeless encampment, officials said...

 

Reports indicated another dozen structures were damaged, though it is unclear how many of the damaged and destroyed buildings were homes.

No one was at the scene of the suspected origin when investigators arrived, and there have been no arrests associated with the fire as of the latest reports available.  Hundreds of locals were evacuated as the fire spread and a number of area schools were closed.
 

The Getty Center museum was also closed to the public, though its priceless works of art remained inside, according to CNN.  Ron Hartwig, a museum spokesperson, said that even in the path of a wildfire, the secure building is the safest location for its contents.  “The building was designed to be the best place to keep an art collection,” he said.


The Los Angeles Fire Department provided an update Tuesday confirming the Skirball Fire was 85 percent contained.  Dozens of firefighters remained on the scene and at three had sustained injuries related to the effort.  Given the arid, windy conditions across California over the past few weeks, other area fires have been much harder for firefighters to contain.

 

None of the other five major fires that have been sparked across Southern California in recent days have identified origins.  The largest of those blazes, the Thomas Fire, has grown to engulf an area larger than New York City.

 

It was about 20 percent contained as of the latest estimates available as winds in the region were expected to calm in coming days.  Santa Barbara County fire spokesperson Mike Eliason expressed tempered optimism, saying the situation is “bad, but it’s a better bad.”