Residents Evacuated as SoCal Fire Grows to 20K Acres, 1 Dead | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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Residents Evacuated as SoCal Fire Grows to 20K Acres, 1 Dead

Hundreds of firefighters were battling the flames from the ground and air



    Deputies investigated the death of a man amid the Santa Clarita fire that burned 20,000 acres. Kate Larsen reports for the NBC4 News at 11 on Saturday, July 23, 2016. (Published Sunday, July 24, 2016)

    A 22,000-acre wildfire in mountains just north of Los Angeles and its suburbs is a threat to 1,500 homes, fire officials said Sunday.

    Updated Story: Wildfire Burns 35 Square Miles

    Los Angeles County Deputy Fire Chief says a wind shift is expected Saturday afternoon and communities have been put on alert. In the event of extreme fire behavior 45,000 homes could be threatened, largely in the San Fernando Valley, he said.

    By Saturday afternoon, the fire had destroyed one structure. As many as 100 commercial buildings were also threatened.

    A man was found dead near Iron Canyon Road according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

    All residents in Sand Canyon from Lost Canyon to Bear Divide were ordered to evacuate.

    About 100 people were evacuated from the area of Capra Road off Soledad Canyon Road, county fire officials said. In the Little Tujunga area, residents in about between 200 to 300 homes were also under a mandatory evacuation order, according to the sheriff's department. All residents in Placerita Canyon from the Nature Center to Sand Canyon were ordered to evacuate later Saturday afternoon.

    The blaze darkened skies with smoke that spread across the city and suburbs, and narrowing the sun to an orange disk.

    The South Coast Air Quality Management District warned the air would, at times, reach unhealthy levels as the region was gripped by high heat and very low humidity.

    No injuries were immediately reported as a result of the blaze, which broke out at 2:11 p.m. Friday near Sand Canyon Road along the 14 Freeway.

    The blaze was 10 percent contained by 10:45 p.m. Saturday evening, the U.S. Forest Service said.

    Two evacuation centers for residents were established: Lakeview Terrace Recreation Center at 11075 Foothill Blvd. and Hart High School at 24825 N. Newhall Ave.

    Shelter for large animals was made available at Agua Dulce Airport, Wayside Jail in Castaic and Pierce College in Woodland Hills.

    Late Friday night, horses and animals at a nearby wildlife sanctuary were being evacuated. The Wildlife Waystation, a non-profit organization, was in the process of evacuated more than 400 exotic animals, including lions and tigers. The animals were being taken to different locations, according to a spokesperson for Wildlife Waystation.

    Brush Fire Burns Homes in Santa ClaritaBrush Fire Burns Homes in Santa Clarita

    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 three from the county fire department. Two fixed-wing firefighting aircraft were also called in to attack the blaze. Cal Fire and the U.S. Forest Service were also assisting in the firefight.

    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. Northbound lanes of the freeway were temporarily closed south of Soledad Canyon Road, according to the California Highway Patrol. Metrolink reported that service on its Antelope Valley line was halted at the Via Princessa station for about an hour.

    Smoke from the fire was moving southeast into the San Gabriel Valley "due to gusty northwest winds aloft," according to the National Weather Service. Smoke was also visible above downtown Los Angeles.

    The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a smoke advisory for the following areas:

    • Portions of the Central Los Angeles Area
    • Portions of the west and east San Fernando Valley
    • Portions of the west and east San Gabriel Valley
    • Portions of Pomona/Walnut Valley
    • Portions of the Santa Clarita Valley
    • Portions of the San Gabriel Mountains

    People with respiratory or heart disease, older adults, and children were advised to stay indoors. 

    The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning in effect until midnight across the Los Angeles and Ventura County mountains, Antelope Valley, and Santa Clarita Valley for gusty winds, very low humidity, and hot temperatures.

    Soledad Canyon Road was closed between the freeway and Agua Dulce Canyon Road, according to county fire department Capt. Keith Mora.

    As of Saturday morning, roads were closed between Little Tujunga Canyon Road to Osborne Street, Sand Canyon Road to Placerita Canyon Road, Placerita Canyon Road to Crown Valley Road, Soledad Canyon Road to Agua Dulce Canyon Road, Soledad Canyon Road to the 14 freeway, and on Soledad Canyon Road from Agua Dulce Canyon Road to Shadow Pines Boulevard, according to the U.S. Forest Service.