LOS ANGELES - Amid a record-breaking heat wave and gusty Santa Ana winds, the Los Angeles Fire Department has declared a citywide red flag alert that will trigger increased parking restrictions on Tuesday morning.
The alert is the first of its kind to be issued in L.A. since May 2014. The move was prompted by bone-dry conditions and heightened fire danger in brush areas, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.
Firefighters were kept very busy as they raced to extinguish multiple blazes.
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LAFD crews made quick work of a small brush fire that broke out near Hansen Dam around 9 a.m. The 2-acre blaze did not pose any threat to structures, and no injuries were reported.
Also, a fire erupted along the 118 Freeway in Granada Hills. Firefighters extinguished the flames quickly before they had a chance to spread.
Beginning at 8 a.m., "all vehicles parked illegally in posted locations within the very high fire hazard severity zones will be towed by the city," the fire department said in a statement. The restrictions are expected to remain in effect for at least 24 hours.
The "very high fire hazard severity zones" cover most of the hilly and mountainous regions of L.A., including Baldwin Hills, Bel Air Estates, Beverly Glen, Brentwood, Castellammare, Chatsworth, Eagle Rock, East Los Angeles, Echo Park, El Sereno, Encino, Glassel Park, Granada Hills, Hollywood, Lake View Terrace Los Angeles, Los Feliz, Montecito Heights, Monterey Hills, Mount Olympus, Mount Washington, Pacific Palisades, Pacoima, Palisades Highland, Porter Ranch, San Pedro, Shadow Hills, Sherman Oaks, Silver Lake, Studio City, Sunland, Sun Valley, Sylmar, Tarzana, Tujunga, West Hills, Westwood, Woodland Hills.
The restrictions are meant to be proactive in extreme fire circumstances to clear the narrow streets in case there is an evacuation.
"Areas that essentially would create a choke point if a car was parked there while people were trying to evacuate out and fire apparatus is trying to get into those areas to extinguish a fire," said LAPD Capt. Erik Scott.
The LAFD said officials will reevaluate weather conditions throughout the day Tuesday to determine if the red flag alert should be extended.
Along with asking motorists to keep affected city streets cleared of parked vehicles, the agency asked residents to:
-Report any signs of smoke immediately by calling 911.
-Use extreme caution when operating spark or flame-producing machinery in grass or brush areas.
-Have an evacuation plan in place.
-Report any suspicious activity to law enforcement.