UPDATED, 1 PM SATURDAY: Although there are some lingering areas of concern, most residents affected by the Tick Fire evacuations are being allowed back to their homes. Fire officials are still evaluating several areas for safety, but it is anticipated that most people will be allowed back soon.
The Tick Fire has burned 4,615 acres and is considered 25% contained as of Saturday morning. Nine structures were destroyed and nine others damaged.
Weather is expected to turn cooler later today, but winds and dry conditions are expected to return later on Sunday when Santa Ana winds are forecast to pick up.
Those with damaged or destroyed homes can dial 211 to be connected to recovery services, L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said Friday.
UPDATED, 8:15 PM: The largest evacuation in the Santa Clarita Valley’s history is slowly winding down, as some residents are being allowed back into their homes Friday evening. Anywhere between 40,000 to 50,000 people are believed to be affected by the evacuation orders.
Containment is still limited on the Tick fire, estimated at around 10% as of 7 PM. The fire has burned more than 4,000 acres.
Residents who live between Whites Canyon and Sierra Highway, south of Plum Canyon and north of Soledad Canyon, will be allowed back to their homes. Also heading home are residents who lived south of Fire Station 132 at 29310 S. Sand Canyon, and the area along Sierra Highway at Linda Vista West.
Elsewhere, evacuation orders remained in effect until Saturday morning, when another assessment will take place. Dry conditions are still in effect, although a cooling trend is expected to kick in soon.
UPDATED, 11:20 AM: California Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency for Los Angeles and Sonoma counties as wildfires continue to burn in the southern and northern parts of the state. The Kincade Fire up north has grown to nearly 22,000 acres and is only 5% contained.
UPDATED, 9:50 AM with news conference: Authorities gave an update on the Tick Fire this morning as firefighters continued to battle flames in the Santa Clarita Valley. LAFD Fire Chief Daryl Osby said six structures are confirmed lost in the fire, “but we know that number is going to rise today.”
He said 16,000 structures are threatened and 40,000 people remain under mandatory evacuation. LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, whose 5th District includes Santa Clarita, said it is the “largest evacuation we’ve had” in the city.
More than 600 firefighters are attacking the blaze, which has scorched 4,300 acres and is 5% contained. Osby said today’s focus is on containment. He offered no timeline for repopulation but said that is a priority.
The southbound 14 Freeway remains shut down in both directions from Escondido Canyon Road to Golden Valley Road, but authorities were reopening the northbound lanes by 4 p.m. Friday. Here is the latest list of road closures, per the California Highway Patrol, and some updates from the LA County Fire Department:
UPDATED 6:30 AM: Driven by strong Santa Ana winds, the Tick Fire surged overnight, jumping the 14 Freeway north of L.A. prompting the closure of all lanes and forcing more evacuations south of the freeway.
The California Highway Patrol issued a SigAlert for the freeway between Golden Valley and Agua Dulce roads about 3:15 AM as the fire moved toward homes in the Sand Canyon community. New evacuation orders were issued this morning for all residents in the Sand Canyon area from the Antelope Valley Freeway to Placerita Canyon Road in Santa Clarita and the area east of Rolling Hills Avenue and north of Diver Street in Canyon Country, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
The fire has burned nearly 4,300 acres and is just 5% contained, fire officials say. An unknown number of homes have been damaged and at least 10,000 more threatened. At least 40,000 (new number) residents have been evacuated and classes have been canceled at several schools and two colleges.
About 3 AM Friday, the National Weather Service office in Oxnard reported northeast winds of 33 mph with gusts of 54 mph. The weather service has forecast strong winds across Los Angeles and Ventura counties Friday morning, with gusts up to 65 mph.
UPDATED 8 PM Thursday with latest info: Strong winds with gusts up to 55 miles per hour will give firefighters a tough time tonight, as high winds were expected through Friday morning, according to the National Weather Service.
The Tick Fire was proving particularly troublesome, as an estimated 500 firefighters, four helicopters and four air tankers doing water drops battled the blaze, which still was uncontained as of 7 PM. An estimated 50,000 people remain under mandatory evacuations. No injuries or damaged structures have been reported.
The fires burning throughout the Santa Clarita Valley region combined to scorch about 4,000 acres by 7:30 PM. according to Capt. Tony Imbrenda with L.A. County Fire.
UPDATED with latest information: Three brush fires fueled by Southern California’s dangerous Santa Ana winds, low humidity and hot temperatures have broken out in northern Los Angeles County on Thursday in the Santa Clarita Valley, with the so-called Tick Fire growing quickly to 5,000 acres and forcing evacuations, and another shutting down a direction of the region’s vital 5 Freeway.
Santa Clarita Sheriff Robert Lewis said at at 5:30 PM PT news conference an estimated 40,000-50,000 residents in Santa Clarita are currently under mandatory evacuation orders, with more than 200 firefighters and airships making progress as the evening wears on helped by easing winds. No injuries have been reported.
Mandatory evacuations for the Tick Fire, burning in Canyon Country, have grown since the fire began earlier this afternoon. Residents north of the 14 Freeway, east of Whites/Plum Canyon, south of Vasquez Canyon an west of Agua Dulce must leave, along with those south of the 14, east of Sand Canyon Road, north of Placerita Canyon and west of Robinson Ranch Golf Course. The Soledad Canyon offramps in both directions of the 14 are also closed.
A second unrelated fire first called the Old Fire and now called the TickBranch10 Fire, is burning in the Castaic area a few miles west of the Tick Fire near Lake Hughes Road. Los Angeles County Fire Department chief Daryl Osby said this evening that five homes have been lost so far in the 10-acre fire running up a hillside above the 5, a major north-south artery into and out of the City of Los Angeles. The California Highway Patrol said the northbound 5 has now been been closed at Halsey Canyon.
A third fire in Santa Clarita Valley has since sprung up at San Martinez Road/Chiquito Canyon Road, with fewer structures at risk.
Evacuation centers have been set up in the Santa Clarita area at the College of the Canyons’ main campus in Valencia in the gym, as well as at the Newhall Community Center. Several school districts in the area have already decided to close Friday.
The news comes as another brush fire, in the Sepulveda Basin area smack in the middle of the San Fernando Valley, is now blowing thick smoke in the direction of the Sepulveda Pass south along the 405 Freeway and across the 101 Freeway, two more major L.A. thoroughfares that are in the midst of their end-of-day rush hours.
Back in northern L.A. County, plume of thick, dark smoke could been seen looming over the hills that separate the Santa Clarita and San Fernando valleys, nearly the same vantage point for residents impacted by the Saddleridge Fire that burned more than 8,000 acres in northern Los Angeles two weeks ago. That fire forced the shutdown of several TV productions in the area, mostly due to accessibility issues as the 5 and 14 freeways were clogged or closed.
Today, both the Santa Clarita Film Office and FilmL.A. said they’ve received no reports of production shutdowns due to today’s fires.
Earlier Thursday, a brush fire that broke out in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Eagle Rock was knocked down quickly as fire officials are on high alert with the region under another Red Flag warning that will last until at least Friday night.
The National Weather service forecasts “widespread critical conditions to most of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties” with wind gusts between 40-60 mph, isolated gusts to 70 mph, humidity below 10 percent and temperatures between 87-97 degrees during that time.
On Monday, the Los Angeles Fire Department battled a brush fire on a Pacific Palisades hillside that threatened multimillion-dollar homes there. Firefighters were still working on containment today amid fears the latest round of Santa Ana could cause new problems there.
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