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Fire threatens homes

Firefighters douse two fires in northwestern SCV after brief voluntary evacuation orders

Posted: July 17, 2009 9:44 p.m.
Updated: July 18, 2009 4:55 a.m.

A water-dropping helicopter makes a delivery near a camp crew during the Sloan Fire on Friday afternoon.

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A pair of brush fires sparked by burning vehicles charred more than 65 acres in and around Castaic on Friday afternoon, prompting firefighters to shut down two lanes on Interstate 5 and issue voluntary evacuations for residents of the canyon neighborhoods threatened by the flames.

Firefighters knocked down both blazes with aggressive air attacks and lifted the evacuation order about 6 p.m. Officials expected to see the blazes fully contained overnight.

The first blaze began about 2:30 p.m. at Sloan Canyon Road near Lake Hughes Road, when a vehicle fire apparently spread to the brush, fire officials said.

The brush fire blackened about 55 acres and came close to some tract homes before hundreds of firefighters — aided by two helitankers and four water-dropping helicopters — were able to halt its progress, said Los Angeles County Fire spokeswoman Stephanie English.

Firefighters issued voluntary evacuation orders for residents in homes around Victoria Road and Mustang Drive, but they lifted those orders a few hours later. By about 6:45 p.m., all the flames were out, English said.

Fire crews were expected to do clean-up work throughout the fire area overnight and into this morning.

The second blaze began about 4:30 p.m., when a Los Angeles-to-Bakersfield commuter bus caught fire on northbound Interstate 5 near Templin Highway. Flames spread to roadside brush, officials said.

That fire charred about 10 acres just east of the I-5 but did not threaten any homes, said fire Inspector Frederic Stowers.

The fire completely destroyed the bus, but no passengers were injured, he said.



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