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Brush Fire Threatens Homes in Benedict Canyon Area

UPDATED: A fast-burning brush fire, called the Portola Fire, is threatening the Beverly Crest area near Benedict Canyon in Los Angeles, the location of numerous multi-million dollar mansions. “I Dream of Jeannie” star Barbara Eden, who spoke to ABC7 News about how close the blaze was to her home, is among the many celebrities who live in the area.

Other residents of the surrounding area include Emmy Rossum, Channing Tatum, Jon Lovitz, Jessica Alba, Jon Voight, and Lisa Vanderpump and Ken Todd.

The fire was reportedly caused by a weed whacker being used in a resident’s yard. Evacuations are expected to be lifted by 8 p.m. as the fire danger diminishes.

Benedict Canyon is on the west side of Beverly Hills, north of Sunset Blvd., and east of Bel Air and the 405 freeway.

No injuries or damages to structures have been reported. Authorities and news media are recommending avoiding the entire Benedict Canyon area so that emergency vehicles can access the fire.

KTTV reported that the fire, which started just before 2 p.m., was at 25 acres. Evacuations are under way for Portola Drive, where the fire originated, as well as Yoakum Drive, San Ysidro Drive and other nearby streets. Approximately 200 firefighters are on the scene.

Smoke is spreading across the West Los Angeles area as well as in the San Fernando Valley, where it is impeding vision on the 101 freeway near Sherman Oaks.

Although it has been a dry winter, temperatures were only about 80 degrees in Los Angeles on Tuesday, with light winds, meaning weather conditions shouldn’t make firefighting more difficult. However, the area is hilly and covered in brush.

Another brush fire is currently burning in the Santa Paula area northwest of the city. Last December, a large fire burned several homes just a few miles away in Bel Air, near the 405 freeway.

— Mark David contributed to this report

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