A rapidly spreading wildfire doubled in size to 11,000 acres Saturday, threatening a thousand homes east of Santa Clarita, and prompting expanded evacuations.
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.”
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.
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 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.
Two @LACoFireAirOps Firehawk helicopters worked overnight using Night Vision Goggles to make water drops on the #SandFire near Santa Clarita. (Photo courtesy of Corey Fredrickson) #teamwork #Firehawk #helicopter #Firefighter #Paramedic #Pilot #LACoFD #LACountyFire #LosAngeles #California #SoCal #ANF #USFS #SantaClarita #CanyonCountry #wildfire #ABC7 #abc7eyewitness #nbc4you #CHP #LASD
A photo posted by LA County Fire Air Operations (@lacofireairops) on Jul 23, 2016 at 7:57am PDT