Students watch the fire from campus. Photo by Jeremiah Hill

Students watch the fire from campus.
Photo by Jeremiah Hill

Sparked by a combination of chaparral and dry brush, the Madre fire is blazing strong in the Azusa foothills. Students flocked to the West Campus drive-in lot late Monday evening to check out the rapidly spreading flames. County Fire Inspector Ed Pickett reported that word of the fire near Azusa and Sierra Madre avenues was received at 5:52 p.m.

Sophomore applied health major Alicia Armenta watched the blaze grow from the northwest corner of the drive-in lot with along with a throng of students and Azusa residents.

“I [went to] algebra class and it started at … 5:55 [p.m.], so this wasn’t here then. About maybe 20 [to] 25 minutes into it, my friend told me there [was] a picture on Instagram of a fire,” said Armenta. “I didn’t realize how big it was until I got out here. [The flames] are kind of intimidating.”

KTLA 5 reported the evacuation of three homes on Foxtail Court, and at the time of publication the fire had burned 40 acres of land in an area surrounded by the Angeles National Forest.

Armenta expressed concern for residents in the affected area.

“I [am] concerned because people live up there. Students that are in class don’t even know about this yet,” Armenta said.

Two SuperScooper aircraft and two water-dropping helicopters responded to the towering flames. At the time of publication, Highway 39 was closed. No injuries had been reported.

Azusa resident Jennifer Ingalls received a call from her son at 6:12 p.m. about the blaze.

“He lives way down in Covina and saw the smoke. I came out and there it was,” Ingalls said.

A crowd of Azusa residents stood watching the flames a few blocks away from Azusa Ave. Azusa resident Ashley Dillman was among the onlookers.

“I left to go to the store [and] there was nothing. When we walked out of the store we saw the smoke. It was pretty small when we got here, [and] now it’s huge,” Dillman said.

The Los Angeles Times reported that over 200 firefighters were assaulting the raging inferno. For more information and photos, check out The Clause Twitter account at @APUClause.