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Firefighters Stung, Beekeeper Burned In Beehive Fire

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Experienced senior apiarist in his apiary setting a fire in a bee smoker. (Photo by Darios/Shutterstock)
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Two firefighters, a beekeeper and (presumably) a lot of angry bees had a very bad day after some hives caught fire.

City News Service reports that firefighters were dispatched to the 8300 block of La Tuna Canyon Road at 10:42 a.m. today. They had the fire out within 37 minutes of their arrival, Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles City Fire Department told CNS.

However, in putting out the fire, two firefighers were "repeatedly stung" and a male beekeeper suffered burns to his arm and face. He was taken to a hospital in "fair condition." It's not known if the firefighters also had to be hospitalized.

Somehow the hives, located in the foothills east of the San Fernando Valley, caught fire. A burning vehicle may have sparked the blaze, firefighters at the scene said. The fire burned one-half acre of brush before it was put out.

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It's not known if a "smoker," a common apiary tool, sparked the fire. Per Beekeeping.com, "The smoker is used to produce smoke which causes the bees to consume honey, reducing their tendency to fly and sting. Smoke also directs bees away from areas of the hive being worked... The ideal smoker fuel remains lit, burns slowly, and produces cool, white smoke." Done right, it does not produce embers, according to the site.

Related:

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Barter Economy: That Honey In Your Cocktail May Come From a Hive in Silver Lake
City Bees Fare Better Than Country Bees? Urban Green Spaces Promote Bee Survival