RANCHO PALOS VERDES, Calif. – A wind-driven brush fire that raced up a coastal hillside toward multimillion-dollar homes overlooking the Pacific Ocean (search) caused several tense moments for residents until firefighters got the best of the blaze.
Firefighters stationed next to back yards sprayed the fire with streams from hoses Wednesday afternoon while helicopter pilots bombed it with water. With aid from residents themselves using garden hoses, the firefighters eventually turned the flames away from several green, manicured lawns overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
The 100-acre blaze, which was 75 percent contained late Wednesday night, had threatened as many as 300 homes at one point. Flames pushed by 12 mph winds came within yards of the back yards of several mansions.
"They got pretty close, but we had the helicopter water drops on it and prevented it from getting any homes," said Los Angeles County Fire Inspector John Mancha (search).
The fire, which broke out shortly before 4:30 p.m., had largely settled down by dusk and residents who had been advised to leave were allowed back into their homes.
As many as 300 firefighters were battling the blaze in this wealthy community 25 miles south of downtown Los Angeles (search) at one point, and some remained in the area overnight as a precaution. One firefighter suffered a hand injury.
Rancho Palos Verdes is one of several upscale communities on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, which rises high above the Pacific Ocean between Santa Monica Bay and Los Angeles harbor.