25 Homes, More Than 7,500 Acres Burn In Saddleridge Fire Near Los Angeles
A quick-moving wildfire is churning through the foothills of Southern California, forcing local authorities to issue mandatory evacuations for some 100,000 people in the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles.
The blaze, which officials have named the Saddleridge Fire. By Friday morning, it had torched more than 7,500 acres, according to the latest alert by the Los Angeles Fire Department.
"This is a very dynamic fire," Los Angeles Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas said at a Friday news conference.
At least 25 structures have been destroyed. And an estimated 23,000 homes are under estimated mandatory evacuations.
LAFD reports the fire is at 13% containment, with more than 1,000 firefighters assigned to combat it. Personnel from the Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles County Fire Department and U.S. Forest Service are on the scene, helping with the effort.
Jacob Margolis of member station KPCC described the scene from a first responders staging area at Hansen Dam, located in the city of Lake View Terrace, not far from the fire line.
"There are bulldozers, trailers," Margolis told NPR's Morning Edition on Friday.
"Really everyone is just trying to coordinate and figure out how to tackle the fires, especially before they creep into the neighborhood. And they've been doing that all night," he said.
Local officials say 276 minors at Sylmar's Barry J. Nidorf juvenile detention center were evacuated earlier in the day to another place approximately 40 miles away in Downey.
"It was done out of an abundance of caution," said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors member Kathryn Barger at an afternoon news conference.
She also said patients at a nearby urgent care center for mental health were evacuated and patients were moved to the main hospital.
Emergency officials say one civilian went into cardiac arrest and died at the hospital, and one firefighter sustained a minor injury to his eye. The officials did not provide details about those cases.
No cause of the fire has been determined. Terrazas said emergency officials received the first reports of the fire around 9 p.m. Thursday and that it was located near the 210 freeway at the Yarnell Street exit.
He thanked first responders and urged others to adhere to warnings by emergency officials.