Creek Fire
The destructive aftermath of the Creek Fire. Courtesy Cal Fire

The Creek Fire burning in the hills above Sylmar was 40 percent contained Friday — up from 20 percent — as firefighters struggle against it for a fourth day.

Tens of thousands of residents forced to evacuate because of the wind- driven fire that broke out at 3:42 a.m. Tuesday in the area of Gold Creek and Little Tujunga roads in the Kagel Canyon area were allowed to return home Thursday night.

As of 8 a.m. Friday, the fire had destroyed 33 homes and 32 outbuildings, damaged another 28 homes and 19 outbuildings and scorched 15,323 acres, Cal Fire reported.

Almost 1,700 firefighters and other personnel were deployed Friday against the blaze.

Los Angeles city red-flag parking restrictions were lifted at 8 a.m. Friday.

Evacuation orders were lifted late Thursday afternoon for most of the Creek Fire-affected area, with the exception of parts of the Shadow Hills and Riverwood neighborhoods, as well as the Limekiln Canyon area.

And as of late Friday morning, only parts of the Limekiln Canyon area remained closed, authorities said.

A few electricity customers in the general area were without service Friday.

Three firefighters suffered minor injuries Tuesday.

Virginia Padilla, whose family owns a ranch in Sylmar, told reporters the fire killed at least 30 of the ranch’s horses. Padilla said she and her family were able to get out of her home just in time Tuesday morning but were not able to take their horses with them.

Evacuation orders first issued Tuesday affected about 150,000 households citywide, according to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who said “thousands upon thousands of homes” had been protected over the past few days.

All Los Angeles Unified School District schools in the San Fernando Valley and some on L.A.’s Westside — a total of 265 district schools and charter schools — were closed Thursday and will remain shuttered Friday. A full list of closed schools is available at www.lausd.net.

To assist families affected by the closures, the LAUSD planned to set up special centers between 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with meals available for students, at:

— Byrd Middle School, 8501 Arleta Ave. in Sun Valley;

— Reseda High School, 18230 Kittridge St. in Reseda; and

— Palms Middle School, 10860 Woodbine St. in Palms.

Classes were canceled at Cal State Northridge and L.A. Valley College because high winds and smoke in the San Fernando Valley has affected air quality. Classes resumed Friday at both schools.

An estimated 2,500 structures were threatened by the Creek Fire at one point, according to the U.S. Forest Service, which was fighting the blaze in a unified command with the Los Angeles city and county fire departments.

As the fire burned on Tuesday, the Foothill (210) Freeway was closed in both directions between the Golden State (5) Freeway and the Glendale (2) Freeway, but it was re-opened by Wednesday afternoon, though some freeway ramps remained closed, according to the California Highway Patrol.

As of early Friday afternoon, only the 210’s Osborne Street off-ramps remained closed, the CHP said.

 

—City News Service

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