A brush fire that may have been sparked by illegal fireworks has now scorched 1,200 to 1,500 acres near the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway in Santa Clarita but its forward progress has stopped, fire officials said Monday.
About 400 firefighters and three helicopters remained on duty overnight working to put out flames and clear lines of vegetation to contain them, Los Angeles County Fire Department Inspector Sky Cornell said.
Flames threatened nine homes in rural Agua Dulce Canyon which were ordered evacuated, and 200-250 people were advised to prepare to leave their homes if conditions worsened, according to Los Angeles County Fire Chief Deputy David Richardson. Evacuees were told to take small animals and report to the Victory Outreach parking lot at 37419 25th Street East in Palmdale but to stay in their cars due to COVID-19.
The fast-moving Soledad Fire was reported at one acre about 3:30 p.m. Sunday, pushed by winds of 20-30 mph, Richardson said. By early morning, the fire was estimated at up to 1,500 acres pending a daylight assessment.
The flames skirted the Antelope Valley Freeway, burning near Soledad Canyon and Agua Dulce Canyon Roads and jumped over the freeway in a couple of places only to have those spots put out quickly by firefighters, he said.
No injuries were reported, Cornell said.
Initially, the northbound 14 was closed at Agua Dulce Canyon and southbound lanes were shut down at Soledad Canyon, the California Highway Patrol reported. The southbound lanes were reopened at 11:55 p.m. and northbound lanes 1 and 2 were reopened.
The cause of the fire was under investigation but Richardson noted that illegal fireworks could be seen in the area as firefighters worked Sunday evening.
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