Fish Fire, Reservoir Fire Burning Thousands of Acres in Duarte, Azusa

Fish Fire, Reservoir Fire Burning Thousands of Acres in Duarte, Azusa

• Two separate fires are burning in Duarte and in the Angeles National Forest north of Azusa.

• The Reservoir Fire near Azusa has burned 1,200 acres. Evacuations have been ordered for the area around San Gabriel Canyon.

• The fire was started when a car ran off Highway 39 near Morris Dam. There were no details on injuries from that crash.

• The Fish Fire in Duarte has burned 1,000 acres, as of 2 p.m.

• Evacuations of 500 to 600 homes were ordered for the Rainbow Ranch and Mountain Cove communities in the city of Azusa.

ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST — Hundreds of firefighters and U.S. Forest Service workers fought a pair of fires in the foothills and mountains north of the San Gabriel Valley on Monday, as triple-digit heat baked the region.

Emergency officials cleared out hundreds of homes in Azusa during mandatory evacuations of residents from their homes in two communities closest to blaze spreading north of Duarte.

Reservoir Fire burns hundreds of acres

A car crash on Highway 39 sparked the first blaze, which burned hundreds of acres in the Angeles National Forest north of Azusa, authorities said.

The U.S. Forest Service said the fire, dubbed the Reservoir Fire, burned 1,200 acres, sending up a huge plume of smoke that could be seen from as far as Alhambra and Rancho Cucamonga.

Firefighters from the Los Angeles County Fire Department and the Forest Service helped battle the blaze, assisted by helicopters. A spokesman for Forest Service said about 300 personnel — from that department alone — are working on containing the fire.

Kerjon Lee, spokesman for L.A. County Department of Public Works, confirmed the fire was sparked by the car accident.

Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Richard Licon said the department responded to reports of a car that went over the road on Highway 39 near Morris Dam around 11 a.m. He didn’t have information about injuries from the crash.

A dam keeper at nearby Morris Dam saw smoke and called 911, Lee said. The fire started less than a mile north of the dam along the San Gabriel River.

The canyon is shut down to traffic, and evacuations were ordered for campers and hikers in the San Gabriel Canyon area.

Lee said a water-dropping helicopter has been drawing water from Puddingstone Reservoir at Frank G. Bonelli Park in San Dimas and dropping its load on the Reservoir Fire.

Fish Fire continues to burn

Meanwhile, a second fire being called the Fish Fire also broke out in nearby Duarte. That fire burned about 1,000 acres as of 2 p.m. A Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesman said 195 personnel are fighting that fire.

The fire started around 12:23 p.m. at Melcanyon Road and Brookridge Road in Duarte.

The fire spread quickly and is zero percent contained, according to L.A.County Fire Inspector Gustavo Medina. About 500 to 600 homes were evacuated from the Mountain Cove and Rainbow Ranch communities in Azusa. Residents were ordered to head to the Duarte Community Center, and people with horses and other large animals were told to go to the L.A. County Fairplex in Pomona.

Lt. Tom McNeal of the sheriff’s Temple Station said a resident reported the fire was in her backyard at Opal Canyon Road and Melcanyon Road and said she was leaving. Helicopters dropped water on the blaze.

Cecilia Reardon, of Duarte, said she saw a little bit of smoke at after noon and called Duarte Public Safety. They transferred her to the fire department.

“They were already aware.”

“I watched it from a tiny thing to this,” Reardon said, gesturing toward the fire creeping up a hill.

She said she’s never seen a fire so close to her home. She’s lived there since 2008.

The Fish Fire broke out near John Fasana’s home on Melcanyon Road.

“They told us don’t go up there. Stay here,” Fasana said.

Their house is near the corner of Melcanyon and Brookridge Road.

The last fire Fasana could remember was five or six years ago. That one stopped at the base of the hill, he said.

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