MALIBU – A pre-dawn brush fire scorched about seven acres along the Malibu ridge line Thursday and the flames were about 35 percent contained by daybreak, but an inmate deployed as a firefighter suffered major injuries, authorities said.
The size of the brush fire was downgraded from its original estimate of 20 acres, said Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Rey Dong. By about 6:30 a.m., the fire was about 35 percent contained, and firefighters had stopped the flames from spreading further, added county fire Inspector Randall Wright.
A short time afterward, a female inmate camp crew member working at the fire scene was injured by a falling rock, and she was airlifted to a hospital for treatment of "major injuries," the fire department reported.
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The fire, which started in the area of Mulholland Highway and Bardman Street, was reported at 2:55 a.m., Dong said. About 200 county firefighters were dispatched to the scene of the second alarm fire, he said.
The blaze drew fire crews from Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Aerial water drops were conducted by three water-dropping helicopters, Dong said.
The fire was burning in heavy brush, working its way uphill in some spots, and authorities shut down Mulholland Highway in both directions near the fire area, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Residents of nearby homes were asked to evacuate, according to authorities. However, no mandatory evacuations were ordered, Dong said.
Campers at two camps were on standby to evacuate, including Camp Shalom, where there are about 120 children. According to ABC 7, the campers were sitting in place, with buses waiting if need be.