Placerita fire scorches 870 acres, at 50% containment in Santa Clarita

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Fresh and rested county firefighters Monday took over the effort to put out a fast-moving, three-alarm brush fire that scorched at least 870 acres and one structure in Santa Clarita at the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway -- a fire that injured one firefighter and was about 50 percent contained.

The fire -- started by a traffic crash on the south 14 Freeway near the Sierra Highway offramp not far from Placerita Canyon Road -- was reported at 12:47 p.m. Sunday, a Los Angeles County Fire Department dispatcher said. The flames "jumped the freeway,'' according to the dispatcher.

The crash caused a tree to catch fire, and those flames spread toward Disney Ranch, Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez said. One structure was destroyed, she said.

One firefighter was hospitalized after being injured fighting the blaze, the Los Angeles Times reported. There's no word on the firefighter's condition.

As of 10:30 p.m. Sunday, most of the firefighters who made the initial attack were released and replaced by fresh crews to continue the battle into the morning, according to county fire officials.

The blaze caused a power outage at Disney Ranch, cutting electricity to 76 nearby homes, Navarro-Suarez said.

Southern California Edison spokeswoman Sally Jeun told City News Service the homes lost power at 3:04 p.m. Sunday due to an overhead equipment failure. Power was restored to all the homes by 3:23 p.m., Jeun said.

A SigAlert was declared by the California Highway Patrol just after 2 p.m. and authorities shut down the 14 Freeway southbound at Sand Canyon Road and northward at Newhall Avenue. The CHP reopened most northbound lanes at 4:45 p.m. and fall lanes were reopened by 11:15 p.m.

About 220 county firefighters, were dispatched to fight the fire, authorities said. Four water-dropping helicopters and two fixed-winged aircraft dropping retardant also were sent to battle the blaze, according to county fire Capt. Keith Mora.

The Los Angeles City Fire Department sent a water-dropping helicopter to the scene just before 1 p.m. Sunday, said Los Angeles City Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey, who revealed that one LAFD strike team of 22 firefighters and nine engines had joined the fire fight.

No civilian injuries were reported, but the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department ordered mandatory evacuations for Disney Ranch, Tenderfoot Trail Road, Running Horse Road and Placerita Canyon. All evacuation orders were lifted at 10 p.m. and residents were being permitted to return home, county fire announced.

The temperature in Santa Clarita hit 107 degrees Sunday and a red flag warning was in effect Monday in the San Gabriel Mountains and the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys, with temperatures expected to top 100 degrees in some areas and strong winds and low humidity.


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