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UPDATE: Agua Dulce brush fire stifles afternoon traffic

Posted: April 8, 2012 1:02 p.m.
Updated: April 8, 2012 6:17 p.m.

AGUA DULCE - A brush fire that consumed eight acres near Highway 14 Sunday snarled northbound traffic all afternoon as emergency crews worked to contain it.

A small brush fire on the shoulder of Highway 14 near Canyon Road prompted firefighters to respond quickly in hopes that winds wouldn't have a chance to make it worse, Supervisor Clyde Taylor of the Los Angeles County Fire Department told The Signal early Sunday afternoon.

Winds averaging between 10 and 12 miles per hour from the south, however, whipped up flames at the side of the road.

Shortly after 12:45 p.m., officers of the California Highway Patrol were alerted to a small fire on the right shoulder of the highway's northbound lanes just south of Agua Dulce near Canyon Road.

"Right now, it's just creeping up the hill, but we have no wind so it's small," Taylor said 15 minutes after the fire being reported.

In less than an hour, the fire spread to an area of about 5 acres as it moved up hills south of the highway.

"That (Agua Dulce) corridor can get quite breezy in the afternoon," said Curt Kaplan, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, who was monitoring the winds affecting the firefighting efforts.

At 1 p.m., California Highway Patrol officers shut down the northbound lanes of Highway 14 for a couple of minutes, then restricted all traffic to just the carpool lane.

Traffic backed up to the Sand Canyon Road exit within the hour as holiday motorists, travelling north of the highway Easter Sunday, were reduced moving at a crawl pace.

A fire investigator was called to the scene shortly after 2 p.m.

By 2:30 p.m., emergency crews reported that the winds were intensifying.

"Initially, there was a concern it would reach the ridge," said fire department Supervisor Ray Dong.

Water-hauling helicopters doused water on the fire to contain it, he said.

By 5 p.m., the fire had been "totally contained," he said.

No one was hurt in the fire, its containment or the cleanup.

CHP officers rescued a dog from fire area.

"It was a medium-sized dog that's all we know," said " CHP Sgt. Jeff Furman of the Newhall station, which assisted CHP in Antelope Valley with highway traffic in the incident.





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