VALENCIA, CA –Residents evacuated from hundreds of Valencia-area homes Saturday were allowed to return after Los Angeles County firefighters battled a fast-moving, three-alarm brush fire by air and land that charred 175 acres and closed two lanes of the 5 Freeway, authorities said.
The “South Fire” was reported about 2:50 p.m. just east of the Golden State (5) Freeway, south of Calgrove Boulevard, fire officials said.
By evening, it was 30 percent contained by lines of cleared vegetation and checked to the extent that evacuated residents were allowed to return home, sheriff’s officials said. Those residents were required to show ID to prove they belong in the area.
Firefighters were expected to remain in the area overnight mopping-up hot spots and building more containment lines, officials said.
One firefighter suffered heat exhaustion and was taken to a hospital for treatment, officials said.
Firefighters responding to the blaze immediately called a second alarm due to a need for structure protection in South Canyon. Water-dropping helicopters began assisting firefighters on the ground, and fixed-wing aircraft were requested.
A third alarm was requested about 3:45 p.m. to immediately get more units for structure protection in the La Salle Canyon area. As of 5 p.m., it was threatening 200 structures.
Fire officials requested two additional fixed-wing tankers and one Heli-Tanker, bring the airpower to five tankers and five helicopters.
Evacuations were ordered on Ebelden Avenue, La Salle Canyon, Mentry and Creekside drives, White Oak, Valley Oak, Heritage Oak, Bella and Cary courts, Darcy and Clearbank lanes and Briardale Way, deputies said. Additional evacuations were ordered for all streets south of Maple Street up to Wildwood Canyon Road, Calgrove Boulevard, Valley Street, Oakbridge, Alamos, Haskell Vista and Champagne lanes, Agramonte and Green Crest drives, Cross Street and Wildwood Road.
Lanes 3 and 4 of the northbound 5 were closed, and traffic quickly backed up in the Newhall Pass, as drivers opted for the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway and then surface streets to get around the fire area.
Earlier in the day, a five-acre brushfire on both sides of — and under — the Golden State (5) Freeway caused smoke to blow across 14 lanes of traffic before it was put out Saturday
CHP officers said it appeared that the fire began after 12 p.m. at a homeless encampment along the 5, near Roxford Street and the Van Norman Reservoir, at the northern end of the San Fernando Valley.
-City News Service/Photo via Shutterstock