Swift Response Quells Brush Fire Near LCF Country Club

Photo by Wes Woods II / OUTLOOK
Firefighters attacked a half-acre blaze behind the La Cañada Flintridge Country Club near Godbey Drive. Authorities received multiple 911 calls from residents regardinig the Nov. 14 fire.

The U.S. Forest Service is investigating the cause of a half-acre fire behind the La Cañada Flintridge Country Club that authorities said directly threatened one home and could have spread to 30-40 homes in the nearby area, prompting a second-alarm response.
Nathan Judy, an information officer for the U.S. Forest Service, said this week a cause for the Nov. 14 fire had not been determined and he did not know when one would be.
“Some fires take weeks or take years,” Judy said.
The fire began between the golf course and the hills and got into some trees, said Los Angeles County Fire Department Inspector Sean Ferguson.
“It began running up toward the cul-de-sac of homes,” Ferguson said. “We were concerned … about the fire extending and catching the deck of the [immediate] house,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson said multiple 911 calls reporting a brush fire in the 5300 block of Godbey Drive were received about 11:45 a.m.
County Sheriff’s Department personnel remained in the area in case the fire grew bigger and mandatory evacuations were needed, Ferguson said.
“Based on the swift, large response by both the Los Angeles County Fire Department and the U.S. Forest Service, we were able to get a handle on the fire quickly and contain it to a smaller area,” Ferguson said. “As a result, thankfully, mandatory evacuations were not needed.”
Initially, it was determined there would be a first-alarm response to the fire that included 115 firefighters and the use of two CL-415 super scooper planes, multiple water-dropping helicopters, numerous fire engines, several hand crews and command staff, Ferguson said.
A second-alarm response was requested when the Fire Department arrived on the scene and determined structures might be threatened.
The fire was completely contained at 1:15 p.m., but fire personnel stayed behind for hours afterward to make sure it was out, Ferguson said.
“This was a topography- and fuel-driven fire, but luckily the winds are pretty calm out here,” Ferguson said.
Bella Kalnins, a resident who was walking the area, said she called 911 after she smelled smoke in the air and thought someone was burning leaves.
“I went to investigate it,” Kalnins said. “Then I saw a pine tree up in smoke and I saw small, red fires [on the ground] all around.”
Kalnins said she later went to neighbors to tell them about the fire.
“I went door to door telling them to close every window, close every door, and then the firemen told me to help go door to door, so I did,” Kalnins said.
During the blaze, resident Carolyn Adams and worker Dora Sanchez came outside wearing masks to watch the firefighting efforts.
“We were actually walking in the club area,” said Adams, who has lived in the area for 45 years. “And [Sanchez] saw a stack of smoke and called 911. [A dispatcher] said, ‘It’s a tree on fire, we’re on our way.’”

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