Santa Clarita brush fire grows to 1,100 acres, shutting down 14 Freeway and forcing evacuations

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A brush fire in Santa Clarita burned through 1,100 acres Sunday, shutting down a stretch of the 14 Freeway as authorities evacuated local residents, according to fire officials.

The fire had scorched just a single acre, burning at a “moderate” rate near Agua Dulce, when the Los Angeles County Fire Department first tweeted about it just after 3:30 p.m. But the blaze exploded to 400 acres before 5 p.m.

Fire officials said they first received a 911 call about the Soledad Fire at 3:28 p.m., when it was first reported near Soledad Canyon Road and the 14 Freeway. Earlier, in an afternoon tweet, the department said the fire was near Agua Dulce Canyon Road and the 14 Freeway.

Within four hours, the fire doubled in size and grew to 800 acres, with 0% containment, according to officials. They said the blaze jumped the freeway in some spots, leading to a closure of both northbound and southbound lanes in the area.

By 5:30 p.m., local law enforcement officials had started evacuating residents between Agua Dulce Canyon Road and Soledad Canyon Road — in areas north and east of the freeway.

During an 8 p.m. news conference, fire officials said the fire had grown to 1,100 acres and was threatening about 20 homes in the rural area. They said about 200 to 300 people had been warned about possibly needing to flee but just about a dozen residents had actually evacuated.

David Richardson, chief deputy of emergency operations for the Fire Department, told reporters officials were still working to . He said winds earlier reached speeds of up to 20 to 30 mph but had died down by then.

About 400 firefighters worked to put out they flames as they burned near the Angeles National Forest, and they were expected to work into the night, according to Richardson.

Richardson said the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

The city of Santa Clarita tweeted a map showing which areas are under evacuation orders.

According to the L.A. County Fire Department, the Red Cross has set up a temporary evacuation site at a church parking lot in Palmdale — Victory Outreach at 37419 25th St. East. Residents are required to remain inside their vehicles while in the lot.

Meanwhile, air quality officials have issued a smoke advisory warning of potentially unhealthy conditions in the Santa Clarita Valley and San Gabriel Mountains as a result of the fire.

Angeles National Forest Fire Chief Robert Garcia said the Soledad Fire shows “where we are in our fire season,” particularly considering other recent fires. He and Richardson both warned about risks of fireworks, which authorities have blamed for some of the blazes in SoCal.

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