An aggressive brush fire that broke out in Sylmar late Thursday night scorched over 4,600 acres and prompted mandatory evacuation orders for 12,700 homes as flames burned right up to residences and power lines.
The wind-driven fire, dubbed the Saddleridge Fire, erupted shortly before 10 p.m. near the westbound 210 Freeway near Yarnell Street, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. A couple of hours after the fire started, flames jumped the 5 Freeway into Granada Hills and Porter Ranch, where some homes burned, said LAFD Chief Dep. Al Poirier.
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The blaze is currently 0% contained. The 210 Freeway was shut down in both directions between the 5 and 118 freeways, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Several homes have been destroyed by the fire, officials said. Once the sun comes up, authorities will be able to make a better assessment of the fire acreage and how many homes have been lost.
LAFD said 100,000 residents were impacted by the Saddleridge Fire. Mandatory evacuation orders were in effect in the following areas:
ALL of Porter Ranch (north of 118 Freeway) from Reseda to De Soto.
The Oakridge Estates community north of the 210 Freeway.
West of Balboa, North of Sesnon to the Ventura County border with DeSoto as the western border.
Officials stressed that the biggest concern was ensuring homeowners heed evacuation warnings. The Los Angeles Police Department, which initiated a citywide tactical alert in response to the fire, was urging the public to be prepared to evacuate as the Saddleridge Fire quickly moved west toward the northern portions of Granada Hills, Porter Ranch and Chatsworth.
About 450 LAFD personnel were on scene battling the blaze, deemed a "Major Emergency" incident by LAFD, the highest classification there is for a fire emergency. Los Angeles and Kern county crews were in unified command for the incident. LAPD also had 200 uniformed personnel assigned to the fire.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power shut down power along major transmission lines and rerouted the power source to avoid any outages. Still, about 2,500 LADWP customers were without power in Sylmar and Granada Hills with an unknown time for restoration.
A separate spot fire broke out after strong winds in the area picked up some embers that traveled a few miles and ignited on the westside of the 5 Freeway near Granada Hills. Those flames rapidly erupted to at least 30 acres, west of Balboa Boulevard and San Fernando Road.
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