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Evacuations in Topanga lifted as Palisades fire reaches 23% containment

The LA Times logo The LA Times 5/18/2021 Alene Tchekmedyian, Faith E. Pinho
a building with a mountain in the background: A Los Angeles Fire Department helicopter drops water on a brush fire burning near homes in Pacific Palisades. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times) © (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times) A Los Angeles Fire Department helicopter drops water on a brush fire burning near homes in Pacific Palisades. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Evacuation orders in Topanga were lifted Monday evening as firefighters gained the upper hand on the fire in Pacific Palisades that has torn through 1,325 acres.

As of 6 p.m., residents were allowed to access Topanga Canyon Boulevard with an ID or Topanga access card, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. The evacuation warning for nearby residents in the city of Los Angeles was still in place.

Officials said the blaze was 23% contained.

The fire began Friday night in a remote area steps from the Trailer Canyon trailhead, growing to 15 acres overnight. Firefighting helicopters swarmed into the area and dropped water.

But at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, another fire erupted north of the original burn, the fire department reported, exploding to 750 acres by nightfall. That blaze was concentrated among thick chaparral dried out from a lack of rainfall, authorities said. Firefighters clambered over canyons in the Pacific Palisades to fight back the flames, but most of the containment measures came from helicopters.

A man identified by Los Angeles police as Ramon Santos Rodriguez, 48, has been arrested on suspicion of arson in connection with the fire. He was being held on more than $100,000 bail.

Times staff writer Richard Winton contributed to this report.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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