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Residents Allowed to Return Home After Stone Fire Burns 1,400 Acres in Agua Dulce Area

Firefighters continued to battle a large brush fire burning in the hills above Agua Dulce into the night on Monday, after officials lifted the evacuations the flames had prompted in the area.

The Stone Fire inches closer to a structure in Agua Dulce on June 4, 2018. (Credit: KTLA)

The Stone Fire inches closer to a structure in Agua Dulce on June 4, 2018. (Credit: KTLA)

The blaze, dubbed the Stone Fire, was reported just before 12:30 p.m. in the 35000 block of Anthony Road, according to Joey Marron with the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

By 8:20 p.m., it had grown to cover 1,400 acres and was 30 percent contained, the fire agency said in a tweet.

The residents who had been forced to evacuate from their homes were allowed to return at 8 p.m., but Anthony Road would only be open to residents and serve as a path for fire equipment, authorities said.

No structures had been damaged, but one firefighter was taken to the hospital with a minor injury, officials said. No further details about the injury were provided.

Some 240 fire personnel had responded to the scene. Some of the crews were in place for structure protection.

Ultimately, only about nine residences were placed under mandatory evacuation orders, officials said. Among them were Shannon and Diane Martin, who received a knock on their door from an L.A. County sheriff's deputy as flames barreled downhill toward their home.

“And you’re trying to think of everything that you need to grab," Shannon recalled of the experience. "I was wrangling the dogs, and we tried to wrangle the cats but they freaked out. They were gone.”

But by the end of the night, the whole family was happily resettling into their home — felines included.

“We got to come back, we didn’t have to go to a hotel and the three cats were waiting by the door when I got home, so I was like, ‘Thank you, God,’” Diane said.

At one point, the fire was burning near horse stables, and sheriff's officials were working to evacuate horses and residents there. Cheyanne Whathan said she had to enlist the help of five friends to secure her horses and dogs.

“(Deputies) were like, ‘You have to get out, you have to get out.’ I was like, ‘I’m not leaving without my horses,’” she said. “It was definitely hard to think that my whole life could go up in flames in a second.”

An aerial image from Sky5 shows the Stone Fire burning in the Agua Dulce area on June 4, 2018. (Credit: KTLA)

Jay Weiner, who works at The Gentle Barn, a facility that houses rescue animals, said the noise and chaos that come with a brush fire add another layer of difficulty to getting animals safely evacuated.

“When you throw fire into the mix, and helicopters flying by and all kinds of things like that, it obviously becomes a distraction and becomes harder to load,” he told KTLA.

Several helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft made water drops on the blaze, L.A. County Fire Inspector Dave Michael told KTLA.

“We are in offensive mode,” he added.

The inspector added that the blaze was not being driven by winds, but appeared to be a topography- and fuel-driven fire. Heavy and dry brush were burning rapidly uphill.

Temperatures in the area hit 97 degrees early in the afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. At 1 p.m., gusts of 20 mph were blowing in a westerly direction, with relative humidity at 11 percent.

Due to smoke impacts from the Stone Fire, the Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District has issued a smoke advisory for the Antelope Valley that would remain in effect until further notice.

The fire appeared to be burning near power lines, which Michael said was a concern because if poles burn, it could cause further sparks.

The inspector added that Southern California Edison was notified of the blaze and officials were keeping an eye on the exposed power lines near the fire line.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

Residents who had questions or were seeking more information about evacuations were asked to dial 211.

KTLA's Cindy Von Quednow, Tracy Bloom, Jennifer Thang, Matt Phillips, Nidia Becerra and Wes Woods II contributed to this report.