National Geographic : 1962 Oct
Grimy faces of weary firefighters attest the battle they waged against wind-whipped flames. Leapfrogging Canyons, Brush Fires Roar Through Rich Residential Districts Twin fires swept across 14,000 acres of the Santa Monica Mountains in November, 1961. Hundreds of show-place houses in the Bel-Air and Brentwood areas burned to the ground; property damage exceeded 25 million dollars. Aerial bombing with chemicals helped keep the conflagrations from joining. Dense smoke blan keted Los Angeles; Fresno, 200 miles to the north, saw the haze. Chimneys stand like tombstones atop the ashes of mansions in exclusive Bel-Air. A few estates on this ridge miraculously survived. Here, three months after the blaze, bulldozers have carved new homesites on the far slopes. 468 Such terraced lots cost upward of $40,000.