Firefighters Take Advantage of Subsiding Winds in Fighting Saddleridge Fire; Air Quality Advisory Issued

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Authorities extended the smoke advisory for Los Angeles County on Sunday as the Saddleridge Fire continued to blaze through the San Fernando Valley.

The smoke from the fire caused unhealthy air quality in portions of San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Mountains and Santa Clarita Valley, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District. The advisory will remain in effect through Monday, authorities said.

The winds that fanned the Saddleridge Fire weakened Sunday morning and were replaced with cooler daytime conditions, increased relative humidity and slower winds, according to the National Weather Service.

Though conditions improved, the threat of fire weather remained on Sunday morning due to onshore winds gusting 15 to 25 mph, combined with low humidity ranging from 8% to 20%, the weather service said. These conditions are set to last through Sunday afternoon and into the evening, the agency added.

Firefighters planned to make the most of improved weather on Sunday and Sunday night and directly attack remaining hot spots of the fire, according the Los Angeles Fire Department.

“Tonight, firefighters will take advantage of lower wind speeds, increasing humidity and decreased temperatures,” incident commanders said in a written statement. “The weather will greatly enhance the firefighters’ ability to mop up remaining hot spots. Tactical patrols will continue throughout the evening to ensure containment lines remain static and smoldering debris remains isolated from unburned vegetation.”

The onshore weather patterns will help firefighters improve and expand containment lines. However, the winds could shift again and present challenges, the weather service said.

The department’s main objective Sunday is to improve the containment line around the perimeter of the fire. Firefighters will drop retardant from an aircraft to reinforce the areas that are difficult to access due to steep terrain, according to an LAFD update.

The fire was 42% contained as of 7 p.m. Sunday, according to the LAFD. While containment grows, a damage assessment team will continue to survey destroyed or damaged structures, the agency said. Twenty-three structures were listed as destroyed and another 17 had been determined to have been damaged as of Sunday evening.

All freeways, connectors and truck routes that were closed due to the fire are open Sunday, according to Caltrans.

KTLA’s Brian Day contributed to this report.

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