Sierra Madre Fire Threatens Residents

The Sierra Madre fire has forced immediate evacuations of 100 homes in neighborhoods near Pasadena.

Flames outlined steep ridges about a mile above the Sierra Madre, a community of about 11,000 at the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains that is popular with artists.

The fire started in the foothills of the Sierra Madre range in Los Angeles County on Saturday and quickly spread to threaten hundreds of homes and 11,600 residents in the city nearby.

Sierra Madre officials said mild winds and hot, dry weather could delay full containment of the blaze until Tuesday or Wednesday.

Weather officials say the predictions of a hot dry summer ahead make this blaze a warning of things to come.

Firefighters originally had hoped to have the blaze contained Sunday, but gusting winds late Saturday night kept the fire burning out of control and creeping toward nearby homes. The mandatory evacuation order came shortly before 11 p.m.

“I think the biggest concern is this area … has not burned in 10-plus years, so there’s a lot of fuel up there for this fire,” Elisa Weaver of the Arcadia Fire Department said.

The fire about broke out on a hot, dry Saturday afternoon in Southern California and about 10 miles northeast of Pasadena.

More than 100 hikers were escorted out of the forest by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies, and Boy Scouts were evacuated from a camp. No injuries were reported.

Containment was not expected for two to three days.

More than 200 firefighters were aided by a dozen engines, three water tankers, and three helicopters as they took on the blaze. More air support was expected later Sunday morning.