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UPDATE: Recipe for fire due to continue through end of week

SCV weather to continue dry and windy, providing fire ‘trifecta,’ fire official says

Posted: May 29, 2013 10:35 a.m.
Updated: May 29, 2013 6:55 p.m.

Smoke rises from the scene of a brush fire in Castaic as seen from Interstate 5 near Parker Road on Wednesday morning. Signal photo by Jonathan Pobre

Hot, dry and windy is the recipe for brush fires, but it’s also the forecast for the Santa Clarita Valley for the rest of the week, according to weather officials.

Winds have fanned local brush fires three days in a row and are expected to continue until the weekend, said weather specialist Stuart Seto at the National Weather Service station in Oxnard.

“We’re looking at a very hot and dry situation now until Friday and into Saturday,” he said Wednesday.

A wind advisory that remained in place for the Santa Clarita Valley the past couple of days expired at noon Wednesday; however, strong, constant winds remain in the forecast, Seto said.

Winds are expected locally at between 15 and 25 miles per hour, gusting to 40, he said.

Brisk winds make up one part of the “fire behavior triangle,” said Inspector Anthony Aikens of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

“Slope, fuel and winds are the fire behavior triangle,” he said Wednesday.

“That’s the trifecta,” he said.

Since Monday, brisk winds have complicated local firefighting efforts every day.

“They’ve been changing direction on us,” Aikens said. “And that always adds another layer of complexity to the situation.”

The latest brush fire was Wednesday in Castaic on property owned by the Pitchess Detention Center.

It was reported at 10 a.m. in the area near Parker Road on the east side of Interstate 5 and knocked down within 90 minutes, Aikens said. Firefighters held the blaze to an acre and a half.

On Tuesday, firefighters spent the entire afternoon fighting a blaze near Six Flags Magic Mountain that ended up burning 149 acres.

The fire loomed over both the amusement park and two Stevenson Ranch schools, but by mid-afternoon winds had shifted it to the northeast.

On Monday, firefighters battled two fires — one in Val Verde, the other in Castaic.

The three-acre brush fire in Val Verde prompted swift response from firefighters at three different agencies as it moved close to homes.

Winds monitored at 10 mph shifted, however, and pushed the fire uphill and away from homes.

As firefighters moved closer to full containment of that fire, a second fire in nearby Castaic broke out.

A water-loaded helicopter already involved in fighting the brush fire in Val Verde had an opportunity to dump one of its loads of water onto the Castaic fire, and it was held to no more than a quarter acre.

Fire is a part of living in Southern California,” Aikens said. “The canyons and passes in this area only accelerate a fire.”
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt





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