Illegal Cooking Fire at Homeless Camp Caused SoCal Fire Near Celebrity-Populated Bel-Air
The Los Angeles Fire Department confirms to PEOPLE that the fire was caused by an illegal cooking fire at an encampment under the 405 Freeway
Los Angeles Fire Department investigators have determined the Skirball fire in Bel-Air, California, was caused by flames at an encampment in a brush area adjacent to where Sepulveda Boulevard crosses under the San Diego (405) Freeway.
No individuals were present in the area of origin and no arrests have been made in connection with the Skirball fire, which burned more than 400 acres, destroyed six homes and damaged at least 12 in the Bel-Air community, one of the most affluent areas in the country.
LAFD spokesman Peter Sanders told the Los Angeles Times that homeless people had been living in a camp along Sepulveda Boulevard for a “number of years.” Sanders also added that “almost all the physical evidence at the scene was consumed by the blaze.”
As of Tuesday, the fire has been 85-percent contained with fire officials still working to achieve full containment.
Many celebrities and their families, including Lionel Richie, Ariana Grande and Paris Hilton, took to social media to announce their evacuations. Meanwhile, many A-listers, such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Kim Kardashian West, Mandy Moore and Chrissy Teigen, who live in the area described seeing thick smoke-filled skies.
Since Dec. 4, at least 180 structures have been destroyed by raging wildfires across Los Angeles and Ventura County. More than 90,000 acres had burned as of Dec. 6, and L.A.’s notoriously traffic-dense freeways have either been shut down or clogged with cars as residents evacuate. More than 1,700 firefighters are on duty in Ventura County to contain the flames, but many aren’t able to enter the area due to the intensity of the fire.