The Sand Fire is 98 percent contained Monday morning, authorities said.
The fire has burned 41,432 acres since it broke out July 22 near Sand Canyon Road along the northbound Antelope Valley (14) Freeway.
Nearly 800 firefighting personnel were working today to mop up, put out hot spots and shore up and extend containment lines, according to the USFS.
The fire destroyed 18 homes and killed a man, and prompted the evacuation of an estimated 20,000 people, all of whom have been allowed to return home, with the last evacuation orders lifted on Friday.
The American Red Cross has closed its evacuation centers at Hart High School in Santa Clarita and Highland High School in Palmdale. The Red Cross had operated five shelters at the fire’s peak. The group said on Saturday that “all remaining shelter residents have been connected with community resources.”
As of 6 p.m. Sunday, there were no longer any road closures in effect due to fire activity, the U.S. Forest Service said.
“However, Southern California Edison is using helicopters to place power poles in the fire area, and temporary closures will take place intermittently during daylight hours today as SCE coordinates with California Highway Patrol and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to accomplish its power line restoration,” the USFS said in a statement.
The temporary closures required by Southern California Edison will be at the Sand Canyon Road and Placerita Canyon Road going into Bear Divide and also at Little Tujunga Canyon Road north of the Wildlife Way Station. For questions on road closures, call Southern California Edison (800-655-4555).
The USFS said the fire was not active on the north, west and south sides. Hot spots are scattered along the southeast side, but the fire is not expected to spread. Firefighters advised people in the area that pockets of unburned vegetation will continue to burn for several days or even weeks, but that does not threaten the fire’s containment status.
The blaze has been fueled by triple-digit temperatures along with gusty winds and vegetation left dry by the region’s five-year drought. Officials said some areas affected have not burned in decades, leaving terrain covered with dry chaparral.
The deceased victim, whose burned body was found July 23 in a car in the driveway of a house in the 26700 block of Iron Canyon Road, was killed after apparently refusing an order to evacuate. The coroner’s office identified him as Robert Bresnick, 67.
Following an autopsy, the cause of death was listed as the “consequences of extensive thermal burns,” and the death was classified as an accident, coroner’s Assistant Chief Ed Winter said.
Bresnick was visiting a friend at the location and had been advised by authorities to leave. The friend left, but Bresnick did not, Winter said.
Along with the 18 homes destroyed, the fire also tore through a western town set on the Sable Ranch, a well-known filming location.
—City News Service
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