A stubborn, wind-driven brush fire that raged through the hills above Sylmar and threatened thousands of homes continued spreading Wednesday, with more than 100,000 residents remaining under evacuation orders.
14,000+ Acres Burned, 30 Homes Destroyed
The blaze, which broke out at 3:42 a.m. Tuesday in the area of Gold Creek and Little Tujunga roads in the Kagel Canyon area, was estimated at 14,000 acres by midday Wednesday. More than 900 firefighters were working to extinguish the fire, which was still zero percent contained.
Three firefighters were injured Tuesday, and were hospitalized in stable condition.
At least 30 homes were destroyed, about 20 of them in the Little Tujunga, Kagel Canyon and Lopez Canyon areas. The other 10 homes were within Los Angeles city limits, according to Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
At Least 120,000 People Evacuated
Sylmar resident Virginia Padilla, whose family owns a ranch in Sylmar, told NBC4 the fire killed at least 30 of the ranch’s horses. Padilla said she and her family were able to get out of her home just in time but were not able to take their horses with them as they had to evacuate immediately when they were awakened Tuesday morning.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Tuesday evacuation orders were affecting about 150,000 residents, but a Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman put the number at around 120,000. Police said the evacuation order could remain in place through Thursday afternoon.
Fire Departments Team Up To Battle Blazes
An estimated 2,500 structures were threatened at one point, according to the U.S. Forest Service, which was fighting the blaze in a unified command with the Los Angeles city and county fire departments.
LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas warned that the battle was likely to continue until at least Friday. The LAPD was placed on a citywide tactical alert, which allows commanders maximum flexibility in deploying resources.
Evacuation Areas Expand
As the fire burned on Tuesday, the Foothill (210) Freeway was closed in both directions between the Golden State (5) Freeway and the Glendale (2) Freeway, but the freeway had been reopened by Wednesday afternoon, according to the California Highway Patrol.
As the fire expanded and jumped south of the Foothill Freeway on Tuesday, so did the mandatory evacuation area. Evacuations were initially ordered in the area north of the Foothill Freeway from Glenoaks Boulevard on the west to the border with La Crescenta on the east.
Evacuation Centers Opened
But by early Tuesday afternoon, the eastern boundary of the evacuation area had been expanded to the Haynes Canyon area. And an area south of the Foothill Freeway was ordered evacuated in Shadow Hills between Sunland Boulevard to the south, Wentworth Street to the north and Tuxford Street to the west, officials said.
Seventeen evacuation centers were opened throughout the San Fernando Valley, and all were accepting evacuees and pets. The fire also forced a mass evacuation of large animals, primarily horses but also others such as alpacas.
Pets And Large Animals Offered Shelter
Many of the animals were being housed at Pierce College, which was at capacity Wednesday afternoon and not accepting additional animals.
Other sites remain open.
Horses and other large animals can be brought to the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds at 2551 W. Avenue H, in Lancaster. For details, call (661) 948- 6060. The Expo Center at 16200 Temple Ave. in Industry was also providing stables for horses.
Dogs, cats and small pets can be brought to these locations:
— Sylmar Recreation Center, 13109 Borden Avenue, in Sylmar;
— West Valley Animal Shelter, 20655 Plummer St., Los Angeles; and
— East Valley Animal Shelter, 14409 Vanowen St., Los Angeles.