The fire has burned more than 12 hectares of brush and is threatening homes on the hillside, city fire officials said.
The blaze in Pacific Palisades, located between Santa Monica and Malibu about 18 miles (29 km) west of downtown Los Angeles, came about two weeks after a major wind-driven wildfire scorched almost 8,000 acres along the northern edge of Los Angeles, damaging or destroying dozens of structures and prompting evacuations of some 23,000 homes.
As the blaze raced uphill, some residents fled in their cars, while others used garden hoses from their decks to protect their houses, KTLA reported.
Mandatory Evacuation Box: Charmel Lane to the West Bienveneda Ave to the East Merivale Lane to the South End of Lachman Lane to the North.
The blaze erupted around 10:30 a.m. local time at the base of Palisades Drive and had grown to more than 40 acres by midday, prompting about 200 homes to be placed under evacuation orders, the Los Angeles Fire Department said.
Assistant Fire Chief Patrick Butler said forecasts were for strong, dry winds to return Southern California on Thursday. Director J.J. Abrams bought a home there in 2017 for $6.2 million, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Air and ground units from both the LAFD and the Los Angeles County Fire Department responded to the blaze.
Captain Branden Silverman of the LAFD said: "Right now, the conditions are favourable for fighting this fire".
Predicted weak to moderate Santa Ana winds did not materialize in the area and instead remained confined to the northwest on the Central Coast. "If you look at the firefighters, they're essentially clawing their way up this hillside with rocks coming down on them".
Large, repeated water drops from helicopters kept the fire from advancing into a neighbourhood closest to the flames, and the fire appeared to have been largely subdued within an hour, with no injuries or serious property damage reported.
A plume of smoke could be seen across Los Angeles. "You can't predict what Mother Nature is going to do".