ballona fire

PLAYA DEL REY- A fire that destroyed five acres of wetlands in Playa del Rey on March 23 was most likely caused by a nearby homeless encampment, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. 

It took nearly two hours and 54 firefighters to stop the brush fire at the Ballona Wetlands near Bluff Creek Drive, fire officials said. 

Fire officials on Wednesday said the fire appears to have started near an area where several RV’s were lined up. 

Officials at the wetlands said they were unable to access a fire hydrant on Jefferson Boulevard during the emergency due to a camper parked near it. 

Residents in the area say the encampments have been a growing concern. "There have been reports of homeless entering the wetlands in this area. They are pitching tents illegally.”

Although Councilmember Mike Bonin stated on Facebook that no injuries took place due to the fire, environmental activist Rick Swinger says he disagrees with that statement. "A fire like this will cause a lot of devastation in a protected area like this. This fire will impact the birds, the amphibians, the reptiles, the mammals and the plant life."


"We need to push encampments back at whatever the cost is. The public is at risk, and so is the wildlife. We have to draw the line. Our children are impacted. Our wildlife is impacted. This isn't something that anyone should be taken lightly."