By Emily Alvarenga & Caleb Lunetta
Signal Staff Writers
Firefighters battled a brush fire in Castaic Wednesday afternoon, but had to restrict their ground attack due to the fire’s proximity to a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department bomb squad training facility.
The brush fire was first reported on the 29300 block of The Old Road shortly before 1:30 p.m., according to Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesman Henry Narvaez.
First-arriving units on the scene found what appeared to be a 1-acre fire, creeping uphill in light to medium fuel, Narvaez said.
The fire had grown to 5 acres by 2:40 p.m. before jumping to 30 acres half an hour later, which prompted a second-alarm assignment and additional resources to be dispatched, according to Fire Department supervisor Franklin Lopez.
Within a matter of minutes, the blaze had reportedly increased to 50 acres, prompting a third-alarm assignment, according to fire officials.
While no structures were reportedly threatened, sheriff’s officials were asking that commuters in the area allow for emergency vehicles to proceed through.
The fire, dubbed the North Fire, was reportedly burning toward a dozer line, which is a fire break that firefighters had put in the area to slow the fire down, Narvaez added.
While around 80 firefighters had been dispatched to the fire, because it was burning in and around an area where the LASD bomb squad trains and practices, helicopters would be doing most of the firefighting for safety reasons, according to Narvaez.
“That’s the issue we have,” said Narvaez, in reference to the fire being in and around an area with possible live ordnance. “We’ve been advised that they rather not have firefighters go in that vicinity if we didn’t need to.”
Narvaez described the circumstances as a “setback,” but that both ground and air units are adapting accordingly.
There had been no official word if any ordnance has yet gone off or injuries occurred by mid-afternoon, Narvaez added.
The city of Santa Clarita posted a notice on its social media saying city officials had been made aware of the #NorthFire and would be providing more details as they became available.