Fire breaks out at homeless encampment south of Los Angeles, causing major traffic jams

Firefighters are battling a brush fire they believe started at a homeless encampment in southern California.

Footage of the blaze shows large clouds of smoke billowing alongside a busy Los Angeles County freeway Thursday evening.

Although dramatic looking, the fire, which spanned approximately four acres, wasn’t a threat to any structures. However, it did shutdown Interstates 605 and 105, causing major traffic jams.

The fire comes as temperatures are on the rise in LA, with some areas forecast to reach triple-digit heat this weekend.

California is also in the peak of its wildfire season, which meteorologists say has grown longer over the years due to dry conditions and above normal temperatures caused by climate change.

Firefighters are battling a brush fire they believe started at a homeless encampment in southern California

Firefighters are battling a brush fire they believe started at a homeless encampment in southern California

Firefighters believe Thursday’s inferno broke out in Norwalk along the San Gabriel River, where the two freeways merge, around 6pm local time.

Initial reports indicated the blaze started on the side of the interstate at a possible homeless encampment, county dispatchers told The Los Angeles Times.

At least six fire engines responded to the blaze, which had grown to about four acres by 6.48pm. Crews were seen spraying water on the fire. 

Firefighters were met ‘tough’ challenges as they tried to get what on the blaze because of its roadside location, CBS Los Angeles reported. Officials were essentially limited to the water supply on the trucks.

The scene was still active at 8pm, but the fire was holding, dispatch said. Fumes from the smoke could be smelled as far as nearby Fullerton, La Mirada and Brea.

California Highway Patrol issued an alert at 8.11pm informing residents that several parts of the interstate would be closed for at least two hours. It is unclear if the roads have since reopened.

At least six fire engines responded to the blaze, which had grown to about four acres by 6.48pm. Crews were seen spraying water on the fire

At least six fire engines responded to the blaze, which had grown to about four acres by 6.48pm. Crews were seen spraying water on the fire

The scene was still active at 8pm, but the fire was holding, dispatch said. Fumes from the smoke could be smelled as far as nearby Fullerton, La Mirada and Brea. Officials shutdown parts of I-105 and I-605

The scene was still active at 8pm, but the fire was holding, dispatch said. Fumes from the smoke could be smelled as far as nearby Fullerton, La Mirada and Brea. Officials shutdown parts of I-105 and I-605

A driver in Norwalk, California photographed seeing the brush fire burning up ahead

A driver in Norwalk, California photographed seeing the brush fire burning up ahead

Thursday’s fire comes as California continues to battle the 1,000-acre McKinney Fire, the state’s deadliest and largest wildfire of the year.

The blaze broke out on July 29 in the Klamath National Forest in Northern California, forcing thousands to evacuate.

More than 3,000 fire personnel were assigned to the blaze, which as of Thursday, was 80 percent contained. 

The cause of the massive inferno remains under Investigation, Cal Fire reported.

The McKinney Fire has claimed the lives of four people, injured seven and destroyed 185 residential and commercial buildings. A portion of Highway 96 still remains closed due to the fire.

The Karuk Tribe Department of Natural Resources also claimed the fire killed tens of thousands of fish along a 20-mile stretch of the Klamath River.

Officials say the fish died after debris flow made oxygen levels in the river plummet.

Thursday's fire comes as California continues to battle the 1,000-acre McKinney Fire, the state's deadliest and largest wildfire of the year. The McKinney Fire is pictured on July 31

Thursday’s fire comes as California continues to battle the 1,000-acre McKinney Fire, the state’s deadliest and largest wildfire of the year. The McKinney Fire is pictured on July 31

The blaze broke out on July 29 in the Klamath National Forest in Northern California, forcing thousands to evacuate. As of Thursday, the McKinney Fire is 80 percent contained. Damage from the fire is pictured on August 3

The blaze broke out on July 29 in the Klamath National Forest in Northern California, forcing thousands to evacuate. As of Thursday, the McKinney Fire is 80 percent contained. Damage from the fire is pictured on August 3

Dead fish that are found on a 20-mile stretch of the Klamath River in northern California between Indian Creek and Seiad Creek on August 6. Officials say the McKinney Fire burning in the area killed tens of thousands of fish

Dead fish that are found on a 20-mile stretch of the Klamath River in northern California between Indian Creek and Seiad Creek on August 6. Officials say the McKinney Fire burning in the area killed tens of thousands of fish

California’s peak fire season runs from July through October when the state experiences a drier climate.

Summer months see the largest number of blazes, likely due to extreme heat, but officials say these fires result in less damage overall when considering acres burned.

Cal Fire claims September and October are the most vulnerable months for California wildfires, which are fueled by hot summers and little rainfall resulting in dried vegetation. These types of infernos have proven to be most destructive. 

Meantime, temperatures are on the rise in LA County, which is not good for the area’s vegetation.

The National Weather Service, which predicted triple-digit temperatures this upcoming weekend, warned valleys, mountains and deserts will get the brunt of the extreme heat. 

The McKinney Fire has claimed the lives four people, injured seven and destroyed 185 residential and commercial buildings. Fire damage is seen on August 4

The McKinney Fire has claimed the lives four people, injured seven and destroyed 185 residential and commercial buildings. Fire damage is seen on August 4

California's peak fire season runs from July through October when the state experiences a drier climate. On Wednesday, a firenado broke out in northwestern Los Angeles county. It spanned nearly 150 acres

California’s peak fire season runs from July through October when the state experiences a drier climate. On Wednesday, a firenado broke out in northwestern Los Angeles county. It spanned nearly 150 acres

Water drops were used to extinguish much of the firenado's flames, but footage showed a large amount of smoke billowing over the area

Water drops were used to extinguish much of the firenado’s flames, but footage showed a large amount of smoke billowing over the area

‘The warmest temperatures will likely be over in the Antelope Valley,’ Meteorologist Roobie Munroe told the Times earlier this week. ‘Getting into the 103- to 105-degree range, which is potentially the peak of the heat.’ 

The forecast is typical for this time of year and officials have yet to issue an excessive heat warning.

Munroe did note forecasters expect the area to soon see monsoon moisture, which can dampen the heat and lessen the threat of wildfires.

‘Obviously we need some rainfall,’ he said. ‘If we’re talking weeks upon weeks of well above normal temperatures, that will have a large impact on the drought. It’ll be really important to see how we do this upcoming wet season.’ 

source: dailymail.co.uk