A Homeless Camp Sparked The Fire That Ravaged LA’s Wealthiest Zip Code

REUTERS/Gene Blevins

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Michael Bastasch Contributor
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An illegal cooking fire at a homeless camp started the blaze that engulfed more than 400 acres in Bel Air and the surrounding area, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

LAFD investigators said the Skirball Fire started at a homeless camp just north of Bel Air, which is ranked as Los Angeles’ wealthiest zip code. The blaze engulfed 422 acres and destroyed six structures, damaging 12 more since it began about six days ago.

The Skirball fire sparked evacuations last week, but firefighters were able to keep the blaze on the east side of the 405 Freeway, NBC Los Angeles reported. Evacuation orders were lifted on Sunday. Officials said the fire was 85 percent contained, and firefighters were still on the scene to completely stamp out the blaze.

The Skirball fire is one of several raging across Southern California. The Thomas fire in Ventura County is the largest among them, engulfing 234,200 acres. Officials say that fire is only 20 percent contained.

Homeless camps are a growing problem in California cities. Oakland has seen at least half a dozen fires stemming from homeless camps in the last year, according to The Mercury News.

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