Fires

Brush fire on Los Angeles hillside sparked by weed whacker

More than 150 firefighters battled a 30-acre brush fire on a Los Angeles hillside on Sunday that investigators said was sparked by a weed whacker.

The fire, which triggered the evacuation of five homes, broke out on a steep chaparral-covered hillside of Mandeville Canyon above Brentwood and sent up a plume of smoke that was visible for miles.

Firefighters aided by water-dropping aircraft were able to contain 70 percent of the fire by late afternoon.

A private company working on Mandeville Canyon Road had been using the weed whacker to clear brush around homes when its muffler overheated, said Battalion Chief Mike Castillo, supervisor for the LAFD's arson unit.

The five mile dead-end road through the canyon is home to some of Los Angeles' wealthiest residents and leads to side roads where the likes of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady have owned mansions.

In the desert east of Los Angeles, a 40-acre brush fire in the town of Mecca forced about 50 people to evacuate from an apartment complex.

Riverside County Fire officials said those residents were allowed to return after firefighters contained 50 percent of the blaze.