Fire in Beverly Crest 60 percent contained, 40 acres burned

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A brush fire that broke out and threatened homes in the Beverly Crest area is 40 percent contained Wednesday after having scorched 40 acres.

The blaze was reported just before 2 p.m. Tuesday between Portola and Yoakum drives east of Benedict Canyon Drive, according to Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The fire was sparked by a ``weed wacker'' being used by a contractor to clear brush in the rear of a home in the 9800 block of Portola Drive, Stewart said.

Evacuations orders were lifted around 8 p.m. for San Ysidro Drive between Milboro Place and Beeson Drive and the northern boundary of Highridge Drive down Summitridge Drive and continuing on San Ysidro Drive to Stan Place to the south, but streets are open to residents with proper I-D only, according to Stewart.

Around 85 homes were affected by evacuation orders or warnings, she said.

Two firefighters, both men, were taken to a hospital, one for heat exhaustion and the other for a minor burn injury, Stewart said.

Five helicopters made water drops and four fixed-wing aircraft dropped retardant on ridge lines and crews fought to contain the blaze within Benedict Canyon Drive to the west, San Ysidro Drive to the east, Yoakum Drive to the north and Portola Drive to the south, LAFD Capt. Erik Scott said.

The fire burned uphill and in an easterly direction amid relatively light winds, Scott said.

Homes to the north, south and east of the fire were threatened and crews worked to protect them from the flames, Stewart said.

``This serves as a strong reminder to residents to only use licensed contractors who follow the safety requirements to include no metal blades and (Keep an) extinguishing agent at hand,'' Stewart said. ``The exhaust manifolds (on weed trimmers and brush cutters) can get very hot and is the likely cause of the fire.''

The spinning metal blades of brush cutters often throw sparks when they contact rocks during clearance work.

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