SANTA CLARITA (CNS) - More than 500 firefighters and a water-dropping helicopter are working this morning to extinguish hot spots from a brush fire that may have been sparked by illegal fireworks near the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway in Santa Clarita.
The so-called Soledad Fire, which started Sunday, had burned 1,498 acres and was 48% contained as of Monday night, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
One firefighter reported a minor injury, but no others injuries were reported and no homes were damaged, authorities said.
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. Northbound 14 near Soledad Canyon Road was reopened about 4 p.m. Monday, but Agua Dulce and Soledad Canyon roads were open to residents only.
Soledad Canyon Road, east of the Antelope Valley Freeway, is closed, the department 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 that illegal fireworks could be seen in the area as firefighters worked Sunday evening.