Sand Fire Grows to 11000 Acres in Santa Clarita Area, Is 10% Contained; 1000 Homes Threatened – KTLA

A rapidly spreading wildfire doubled in size to 11,000 acres Saturday, threatening a thousand homes east of Santa Clarita, and prompting expanded evacuations.

A helicopter drops water on the fast-growing brush fire east of Santa Clarita. (Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

A helicopter drops water on the fast-growing brush fire east of Santa Clarita. (Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

The Sand Fire broke out about 2:10 p.m. Friday along the northbound side of the 14 Freeway near Sand Canyon Road and had burned 3,327 acres within eight hours, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

By the following morning, it had grown to an estimated 5,500 acres, but containment was still at 0 percent, the Fire Department said. Hours later, the fire had exploded to 11,000 acres, and was 10 percent contained, the department tweeted.

One structure was destroyed in the blaze, U.S. Forest Service spokesman Nathan Judy confirmed. He was unsure whether the building was a home or some other structure.

“The concern for today is that the fire is still pushing toward the front country, and we have residences in those areas,” Judy said. “So with the fire pushing in that direction, our concern is … keeping it out of where the residents are, and making sure we can attack it safely.”

Joshua Miramontes with L.A. County Engine 82 works the fast-growing brush fire east of Santa Clarita. (Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Joshua Miramontes with L.A. County Engine 82 works the fast-growing brush fire east of Santa Clarita. (Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

The fast-growing fire prompted a number of evacuations, including a mandatory one in unincorporated Little Tujunga Canyon. The order impacted residents from Bear Divide to the Los Angeles River Ranger Station.

A new order was issued about 3:45 p.m. for Sand Canyon area from Robinson Ranch Golf Course to Bear Divide, and in Placerita Canyon from th eNature Center to Sand Canyon.

As of noon, 300 people from 100 homes have been evacuated, according to the Fire Department. One thousand residences and 100 commercial buildings were also threatened.

Voluntary evacuation orders are also in place from Gold Creek to Camps 16.

An evacuation shelter has been set up at Golden Valley High School, located at 27051 Robert C. Lee Parkway in Santa Clarita.

Residents were asked to take large animals to the Pitchess Detention Center (Jack Bones Equestrian Center) on The Old Road in Castaic.

Meanwhile, mandatory evacuations that were in effect in Kagel Canyon north of Glen Haven Memorial Park were lifted overnight, as was the evacuation order from Soledad Canyon at the 14 Freeway to Aqua Dulce Canyon Road, the Fire Department tweeted.

A number of road closures were also in effect.

The Sand Fire raged in Santa Clarita on July 22, 2016. (Credit: KTLA)

The Sand Fire raged in Santa Clarita on July 22, 2016. (Credit: KTLA)

More than 300 firefighters continued to battle the blaze, which is being fueled by brush and chaparral, in challenging, steep terrain. Crews were utilizing eight fixed-wing aircraft, 28 helicopters and seven dozers in the firefight, according to the federal InciWeb information page.

“The fire is burning in multiple different directions,” Judy told CNN. “To the east, it is burning more into the forest and uninhabited areas and to the west is our main concern because [the winds] might make it push down to the flat country. That’s where we have structures and residents.”

The county Fire Department was in unified command with the Forest Service, the InciWeb page stated.

The Sand Fire continued to burn in the Santa Clarita area as the sun rose on July 23, 2016. (Credit: KTLA)

The Sand Fire continued to burn in the Santa Clarita area as the sun rose on July 23, 2016. (Credit: KTLA)

The Santa Clarita area is under a red flag warning, and fire crews faced difficult conditions as they tried to extinguish the flames, including extreme heat that was expected to reach 106 degrees, according to InciWeb.

Humidity was around 10 percent, while winds blowing from the east at 10 mph could reach gusts of 12 mph, the page stated.

The brush fire prompted the South Coast Air Quality Management District to issue a smoke advisory for a number of areas where air quality could reach unhealthy levels, including central Los Angeles, parts of the Santa Clarita, San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys, and in the Pomona/Walnut area.

Smoke was headed in a southeast direction, while ash was raining down in portions of the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys, and in central Los Angeles.

KTLA’s Geoff Peters contributed to this story. 

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