Porter Ranch brush fire
Flames from the massive brush fire near Porter Ranch. Courtesy OnScene.TV

A wind-driven brush fire that exploded in size to at least 4,600 acres damaged or destroyed homes and structures and prompted the mandatory evacuation of all of Porter Ranch Friday, a community of around 30,000 people. It is zero percent contained Friday morning.

The blaze was reported just after 9 p.m. Thursday off the westbound Foothill (210) Freeway near Yarnell Street and Saddle Ridge Road in Sylmar and quickly spread due to wind-blown embers that jumped the Golden State (5) Freeway about 11:20 p.m., sparking a fire that burned into Granada Hills and Porter Ranch, according to Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The fire had burned 4,600 acres as of about 3 a.m. and was expected to spread into Ventura County, Los Angeles County Chief Deputy Dave Richardson said at an early morning news conference.

Homes have been destroyed, but its not yet possible to say how many, LAFD Deputy Chief Al Poirier said.

The massive fire prompted a mandatory evacuation order for all residents of Porter Ranch north of the Ronald Reagan Freeway from Reseda Boulevard to DeSoto Avenue, Stewart said.

An email alert from the Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council said the flames were burning above Aliso Canyon and residents should prepare to evacuate.

“There is a fire above Aliso Canyon and coming down toward Porter Ranch and Granada Hills,” the email read. “Prepare to evacuate ASAP.”

Video from ABC7 showed homes on fire in parts of Granada Hills and Porter Ranch.

Residents of Granada Hills from Balboa Boulevard and north of Sesnon Boulevard to the Ventura County border were under a mandatory evacuation order. An evacuation warning was issued for all areas south of Sesnon Boulevard to the Ronald Reagan (118) Freeway, Stewart said.

An evacuation warning is issued when a mandatory evacuation is anticipated. Residents in this area should be prepared to evacuate immediately, Stewart said.

Mandatory evacuations were issued for the Oakridge Estates community north of the Foothill Freeway in Sylmar.

“If you live in north of the (Foothill Freeway) in Sylmar, get your valuables together and leave now,” Stewart said during an interview with Fox 11.

About 330 juveniles and staff from the Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall at 16350 Filbert St. were being evacuated Friday morning, ABC7 reported.

The Sylmar Recreation Center at 13109 Borden Ave. and the Mason Recreation Center at 10500 Mason Ave. in Chatsworth are open for evacuees and small pets, officials said. Large animals can be taken to the Hansen Dam Recreation Area at 11770 Foothill Blvd. in Lake View Terrace or the West Valley Animal Shelter at 20655 Plummer St. in Chatsworth, Stewart said.

The Granada Hills Recreation Center at 16730 Chatsworth St. was full as of about 4:20 a.m. and no longer able to accept evacuees, Stewart said.

Approximately 12,700 homes were affected in the mandatory evacuation zone, Stewart said.

“When you’re told to leave, we mean for you to leave,” Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore said Friday morning. “It’s for your safety, it will save your life. If you stay in those areas we cannot guarantee you that we’ll be able to find you if you’re overcome by flames.”

More than 750 firefighters from LAFD, Los Angeles County Fire and Angeles National Forest were on the ground battling the flames and eight water-dropping helicopters were deployed.

The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power announced at 10:43 p.m. Thursday that it had shut off power flow along major transmission lines in the vicinity of the fire to assist with firefighting operations.

There have been no outages as the result of shutting off power flows. Power is being rerouted to customers using other paths away from affected area, according to the department.

About 10:50 p.m. Thursday, the LAPD issued a citywide tactical alert in response to the fire. It allows the department to keep officers beyond the end of their shifts.

“(We) are working with LAFD to carry out any necessary evacuations,” the LAPD tweeted. “If you live in the area of the 210 freeway and Yarnell (Street) in Sylmar, we urge you to be prepared & follow all public safety instructions.”

Chief Moore said that because of the tactical alert “we’re stretched thin.”

LAPD Mission Division officers were clearing traffic in Sylmar due to the fire.

“Please steer clear away from the area of westbound Foothill (Boulevard) to Roxford (Street),” the Mission Division tweeted. “Avoid the 210 freeway as well. Thank you.”

All lanes of the northbound San Diego (405) Freeway at the Ronald Reagan Freeway were closed about 2:20 a.m. for an unknown duration and all traffic was diverted off the San Diego Freeway to the east- and westbound Ronald Reagan Freeway, the California Highway Patrol said.

The flames also prompted the closure of the northbound Golden State Freeway just south of the Foothill Freeway and the southbound Golden State Freeway at Calgrove Boulevard just after midnight and both directions of the Foothill Freeway from the Golden State Freeway to the Ronald Reagan Freeway and the northbound Golden State Freeway’s truck route in Sylmar were closed due to the fire for an unknown duration, the CHP said

Video showed several trucks on fire at a business in the area. KCAL9 reported the business was Inline Distributing Co. at 14093 Balboa Blvd.

No injuries have been reported, Stewart said.

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