IN THE EARLY-MORNING hours of December 6, a wildfire began spreading through the hills surrounding Bel Air, California, eventually blazing through the Santa Monica Mountains along the side of the 405 freeway and damaging parts of a vineyard owned by Rupert Murdoch. Although no lives were lost, six homes in one of the wealthiest communities in the U.S. were incinerated.
Six days later, the Los Angeles Fire Department announced it had determined the cause. “LAFD investigators have determined the fire was caused by an illegal cooking fire at an encampment in a brush area adjacent to where Sepulveda Boulevard crosses under the San Diego (405) Freeway,” the release stated.
The same day, describing information provided by the L.A. Fire Department, Mayor Eric Garcetti told a local ABC affiliate, “It was a propane burner that somebody had out there in an encampment area near where Sepulveda and the 405 intersect.”