Firefighters Continue To Battle Charlie Fire North Of Castaic

posted by City News Service - 

CASTAIC (CNS) - The Charlie Fire north of Castaic that has charred almost 3,400 acres of brush since Saturday afternoon was now at least 30 percent contained, authorities said today.

An estimated 20 to 30 homes along San Francisquito Canyon Road were evacuated and one firefighter suffered minor injuries, according to Cal Fire and the Los Angeles County Fire Department. All evacuation orders were lifted Sunday evening, but only residents would be allowed to return to San Francisquito Canyon Road, authorities said.

The fire broke out around 2:40 p.m. Saturday on Charlie Canyon Road.

The fire scorched a few acres at the top of a ridge, but then quickly spread as the first firefighters arrived at 2:44 p.m. Saturday, Los Angeles County Fire Department Inspector Joey Marron said.

That crew called for a third-alarm response that drew about 120 firefighters, aided by three water-dropping helicopters and two Super Scooper tank airplanes.

The blaze mowed through rough chaparral and scattered trees east of Castaic Lake and north of Santa Clarita, spreading to an estimated 3,000 acres within four hours on Saturday evening.

Firefighters made progress overnight, as temperatures dropped and humidity rose, helping to hold the flames in check.

Today, the fire generated smoke and heat that condensed into a huge white cloud above the blaze visible as far away as LAX.

Lake Hughes Road remained closed from the boat launch ramps east of Lake Castaic, east to Dry Gulch Road.

Limited recreational boating was allowed on the eastern part of the lake, while the western part of the water body was off limits so that aircraft could scoop up water to drop on the fire.

San Francisquito Canyon Road remained closed between Low Ridge Place, near Saugus, to Fire Camp 14, near Green Valley but was expected to reopen by 6 a.m. Monday, according to fire officials.

One firefighter suffered minor injuries today and was treated at a hospital.

At one point, about 100 homes were threatened, but no structures were damaged, officials said.

The Castaic Sports Complex in the 31000 block of Castaic Road was designated as the evacuation center. The center was closed Sunday evening and all air support was released from the scene, the county fire department said.

The Los Angeles Fire Department sent a strike team of 22 fire personnel, along with a helicopter, to battle the inferno, spokesman Brian Humphrey said.

Photo: Los Angeles Fire Department

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