Containment increased to 87% Tuesday for a nearly 1,500-acre brush fire burning for more than two days near the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway in Santa Clarita.
The Soledad Fire, which may have been sparked by illegal fireworks on Sunday afternoon, burned 1,498 acres as of 7 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
Two-hundred firefighters are assigned to the blaze, and the area will be monitored by patrols overnight. Operations will resume at 8 a.m. Wednesday to reinforce containment lines and achieve full containment, the department said.
One firefighter reported a minor injury Monday, but no other injuries were reported and no homes were damaged, authorities said.
At one point Sunday, flames threatened nine homes in rural Agua Dulce Canyon, prompting them to be evacuated. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, evacuees who went to an evacuation center at Victory Outreach in Palmdale were asked to stay in their cars.
Roughly 200 to 250 people were advised to prepare to leave their homes if conditions worsened, according to county Fire Chief Deputy David Richardson.
All evacuation orders were lifted by 2 p.m. Monday and the sheriff’s department assisted with repopulating the area with residents showing proper identification.
The fast-moving Soledad Fire was first reported about 3:30 p.m. Sunday, pushed by winds of 20-30 mph, Richardson said.
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.
About 400 firefighters and three helicopters remained on duty overnight Sunday working to put out flames and clear lines of vegetation to contain them, Los Angeles County Fire Department Inspector Sky Cornell said.
The northbound Antelope Valley Freeway near Soledad Canyon Road was reopened about 4 p.m. Monday, but Agua Dulce and Soledad Canyon roads were open to residents only. Soledad Canyon Road, east of the Antelope Valley Freeway, is closed, the department said.
Initially, the northbound Antelope Valley Freeway was closed at Agua Dulce Canyon and southbound lanes at Soledad Canyon, the California Highway Patrol reported. All lanes were reopened on Monday.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, but Richardson noted that illegal fireworks could be seen in the area as firefighters worked Sunday evening.
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