AZUSA (CNS) - A 600-acre brush fire was burning close to houses in Azusa this afternoon, prompting evacuations for the Mountain Cove community.
The Ranch Fire was reported about 2:45 p.m. near North San Gabriel Canyon Road and North Ranch Road, according to the Azusa Police Department and the Los Angeles County Fire Department, which called in a second-alarm response.
The blaze was initially burning uphill in medium to heavy brush, and by 4:30 p.m., the fire had grown to 600 acres with no containment.
At 3:30 p.m., mandatory evacuation orders were issued for Mountain Cove residents who live south of Highwood Court, according to the Azusa Police Department. Mountain Cove residents north of Highwood Court were asked to voluntarily evacuate.
Shortly after, mandatory evacuation orders were extended to include Mountain Cove residents who live north and west of Turning Leaf and Boulder Ridge, according to the Azusa Police Department.
Helicopters and crews on the ground worked to prevent the fire from reaching nearby homes, and shortly before 4:30 p.m., the Los Angeles County Fire Department reported the blaze was growing but “burning away from foothill cities and into the forest.'' Evacuation orders remained in effect.
State Route 39, also called San Gabriel Canyon Road, was closed in each direction in the area. Northbound lanes were closed at Sierra Madre Avenue and southbound lanes were closed at East Fork Road, according to Caltrans.
Photo: Daneille Tharp