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Brushfires off I-5, Highway 14 disrupt Friday commute

Posted: July 23, 2010 2:15 p.m.
Updated: July 23, 2010 4:20 p.m.

Forestry hand crews retreat from a flare-up as they work to clear brush on the east side of a steep ridge where a 30-40-acre fire burned near homes located on La Salle Canyon Road near the Golden State (I-5) Freeway and the Calgrove Boulevard exit in Newhall on Friday afternoon. The fire was contained around 4 p.m.

UPDATE, 4:20 p.m.:
County firefighters report the I-5 fire has burned 30-40 acres so far, but that it is contained. Water-dropping helicopters aided the fight.

The CHP closed all northbound lanes to allow fire department access to the fire area.

The cause of the fire is unknown, but arson/explosives investigators are responding.

Traffic will continue to be impacted for several hours, according to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station's latest update.

Meanwhile, the fire at Escondido on Highway 14 has been contained as well, according to officials.

UPDATE, 3:30 p.m.:
A second fire has erupted on Highway 14 near Escondido Canyon Road, north of Santa Clarita.

That fire has grown to about 3 to 5 acres since it began at about 2:50 p.m., with 111 firefighters on scene, Los Angeles County Fire Department officials said.

No injuries or property damage were reported in either fire.

Meanwhile the CHP reports the I-5 fire is contained for the most part, and that crews were doing brush cleanup.

UPDATE, 3:23 p.m.
The CHP reports a passenger in a vehicle stuck in traffic was suffering a seizure. Fire department crews were en route.

UPDATE, 3:10 P.M.
California Highway Patrol Officer John Lutz said two lanes remain open on northbound I-5 and southbound I-5 remains completely open. Northbound truck lanes are moving slowly up to the Highway 14 split, but back up at I-5.

Lutz said the CHP has received numerous calls saying motorists on the northbound I-5 have been driving backwards, against traffic, and even through a fence that runs alongside the freeway in order to exit onto The Old Road, though drivers were not being directly threatened by flames.

UPDATE, 3 p.m.:
The CHP reports some drivers are busting through the fence separating the I-5 truck lanes and The Old Road, and backing up the wrong way, in order to exit the freeway.

More than 200 firefighters are on the scene, and more than a dozen structures - including apartment buildings - were threatened as flames crept north, officials said. The fire has grown to 15 acres.

UPDATE, 2:18 p.m.:
At 2:18 p.m., firefighters shut down all northbound lanes of I-5, including the truck lanes, until the fire is put out.

ORIGINAL POST: 2:15 p.m.:
Firefighters are responding to a two-alarm, five-acre brush fire west of Interstate 5 south of the Calgrove Boulevard exit, officials said.

The call came in at about 1:55 p.m., Los Angeles County Fire Department Inspector Frederic Stowers said. The fire was traveling north. Firefighters are working to protect nearby buildings.

The CHP has closed lanes 3 and 4 of the northbound I-5 just south of Calgrove.

Check the Signal website for further updates this afternoon.  


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