A firefighter looks out over the flames of the Palisades Fire minutes after it ignites on Monday, Oct. 21, 2019 in the Pacific Palisades, section of Los Angeles. The blaze broke out Monday morning in a coastal canyon of the affluent Pacific Palisades neighborhood. The flames quickly churned uphill through dry brush as helicopters made water drops to keep it from reaching large houses at the top of a bluff. (AP Photo/Christian Monterrosa)

Wildfire burns near hilltop homes in coastal Los Angeles

October 21, 2019 - 5:49 pm

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A furious firefighting air and ground attack beat back a blaze Monday as it raced up canyon walls toward multimillion-dollar ocean-view homes on a ridge in Los Angeles.

The wildfire broke out around 10:30 a.m. in the affluent Pacific Palisades neighborhood and flames churned uphill through green trees and dry brush. About 200 residences were under evacuation orders.

Helicopters made strategic drops as the fire burned fences and lawn furniture behind large houses at the top of a bluff. Airplanes eventually joined the battle, dropping lines of retardant to keep flames from spreading into a state wilderness park.

Many residents evacuated from the hillside community west of downtown Los Angeles, while others stayed behind and used backyard garden hoses to try and protect their homes.

Crews saved at least a half dozen houses, said Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey.

"Thankfully no homes have suffered serious damage," Humphrey said. No injuries were reported.

A huge plume of smoke was visible across the city.

The Fire Department attributed the lack of significant damage to the lack of wind and strong compliance with strict brush clearance regulations.

Predicted weak to moderate Santa Ana winds did not materialize in the area and instead remained confined to the northwest on the Central Coast. However dry, warm winds were expected to pick up starting Tuesday.

"This could be one of our most critical weeks of the fall season for fire weather due to very warm temperatures and bouts of Santa Ana winds," the National Weather Service said in a statement.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

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Associated Press writers John Antczak and Christopher Weber in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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