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Castaic fire began with crash

Posted: June 10, 2012 3:30 a.m.
Updated: June 10, 2012 3:30 a.m.

A fire burns up from the Interstate 5 freeway as hand crews and equipment move into position on Friday in Castaic. The blaze torched around 700 acres.

An off-road motorcycle crash in the hills west of Castaic Friday afternoon led to a nearly 700-acre brush fire that firefighters were still working to contain Saturday afternoon, an official said.

“We’re not sure how the bike sparked the fire, but that’s still under investigation,” Fire Department Capt. F. Garrido said just after 3 p.m. “We can confirm that the fire was started by a motorcycle crash.”

The fire was nearly 100-percent contained by 3 p.m. but the more-than 350 firefighters still on-scene Saturday were not taking any chances due to the abnormally dry conditions of brush in the area, Garrido said.

“The dryness of the brush and the topography — the hilly terrain — all played a factor in the rapid expansion of the fire,” he said.

Firefighters were still working to build a containment line around the fire burning in the hills west of Castaic since about 1 p.m. Friday but hoped to have the dwindling blaze fully contained by nightfall, Garrido said.

No structures had been damaged by the fire but Garrido said the blaze was a reminder to residents to clear any brush that may exist around their homes.

One inmate on a work crew suffered an ankle injury fighting the fire, but no structures of any kind had been damaged, Garrido said.

By 6 a.m., all but the left most lane of northbound Interstate 5 had been opened for traffic, according to a CHP traffic report. The No. 1 lane may stay closed until 6 p.m., the report said.

The No. 1 lane remains closed due to the amount of equipment on the shoulder of the interstate, said CHP Sgt. D. Johnson.

All northbound interstate lanes were closed at Lake Hughes Road for about seven hours as a safety measure, but lanes started to reopen just after 8 p.m. Friday, according to the CHP report.

At least two deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station assisted the CHP with traffic control on the interstate access roads, Sheriff’s Department Lt. Mark Hershey said.

Some inmates at the Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic are trained to assist firefighters.

The fire was first reported on the west side of Interstate 5, north of Parker Road, about 1 p.m. Friday.

Some inmates at the Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic are trained to assist firefighters.


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