SANTA CLARITA – A fast-moving, wind-whipped brush fire that broke out Friday afternoon along the northbound Antelope Valley (14) Freeway in Santa Clarita has so far charred at least 5,500 acres, a county fire inspector said Saturday morning.
The fire is at zero percent containment, according to Los Angeles County Fire Department Inspector Joey Marron.
Residents are reporting smoke-filled air and falling ash in many parts of the greater Los Angeles area, and at least one building is believed to have been damaged or destroyed.
Metrolink announced that the service’s Antelope Valley trains will be experiencing delays of 35 to 50 minutes due to speed restrictions caused by the fire.
No injuries were reported as a result of the blaze, which began at 2:10 p.m. Friday, July 22, near Sand Canyon Road, Marron said. [Read the Fire Department’s Media Advisory that was issued Friday evening here.]
Fewer than 100 people were evacuated from the area of Capra Road off Soledad Canyon Road because of the flames, county fire officials said. And residents of between 200 and 300 home in the Little Tujunga area were also under a mandatory evacuation order, according to the sheriff’s department.
An emergency shelter for residents was established at Golden Valley High School at 27051 Robert C. Lee Parkway in Santa Clarita and shelter for large animals was made available at Agua Dulce Airport, Wayside Jail in Castaic and Pierce College in Woodland Hills.
About 300 firefighters were battling the flames from the ground and air as of Friday night, Marron said. The Los Angeles Fire Department sent a water-dropping helicopter to join four from the county fire department. Eight fixed-wing firefighting aircraft were also called in to attack the blaze, Marron added. Cal Fire and the U.S. Forest Service were also assisting in the fight.
The blaze, dubbed the Sand Fire, was fueled by triple-digit temperatures along with gusty winds and was burning eastward into the Angeles National Forest.
A smoke advisory was issued through midnight Sunday for the San Fernando, San Gabriel and Santa Clarita valleys, the San Gabriel Mountains, the Pomona/Walnut Valley, and the central Los Angeles area, as smoke from the fire drifted southeast toward Los Angeles.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District said those areas are susceptible to direct smoke impact and unhealthy air quality, and recommended that people stay indoors and avoid using swamp coolers and wood-burning appliances.
For all the latest updates on the Sand Fire, including road closures, follow the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Public Information Office on Twitter @LACoFDPIO.