Soledad Fire In Santa Clarita Scorches Nearly 1,500 Acres; 48% Contained


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SANTA CLARITA (CNS) - A firefighter suffered a minor injury today in a blaze that may have been sparked by illegal fireworks and has scorched nearly 1,500 acres near the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway in Santa Clarita, officials reported.

The 1,498-acre Soledad Fire, which started Sunday, was 48% contained as of 7 p.m. Monday, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. More than 500 firefighters and a helicopter worked to extinguish hot spots, and crews will work through the night to prevent flare ups, the department said.

One firefighter reported a minor injury, but no others injuries were reported and no homes were damaged, authorities said. However, two outbuildings were destroyed.

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. But by 2 p.m. Monday, all evacuation orders were lifted, 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 14 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.

Initially, the northbound 14 was closed at Agua Dulce Canyon and southbound lanes were shut down at Soledad Canyon, the California Highway Patrol reported. The southbound lanes were reopened at 11:55 p.m. Sunday and northbound lanes 1 and 2 were reopened.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but Richardson noted hat illegal fireworks could be seen in the area as firefighters worked Sunday evening.


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