Evacuations in California after wildfire grows to thousands of acres

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Evacuations in California after wildfire grows to thousands of acres

Route Fire in Southern California ignited early Wednesday and grew to more than 4,000 acres by nightfall. Photo courtesy of California Department of Transportation/Twitter

Authorities in Southern California have ordered evacuations after a brush fire that ignited early Wednesday exploded to thousands of acres burned by nightfall.

The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station ordered several evacuations throughout Wednesday with orders in place overnight for Paradise Ranch Mobile Home Park and Old Ridge Route Road from Templin Highway to North Lake Hills Elementary School.

Authorities Wednesday told reporters during a press conference that between 100 and 200 homes were under the evacuation order though no structures were currently under threat.

The blaze, dubbed Route Fire, was reported at about 12:01 Wednesday near the I-5 and Lake Hughes Road, but rapidly grew throughout the day to 4,624 acres with zero percent contained by 8 p.m.

Officials have closed all lanes in both directions of the I-5 in Casitas.

Capt Sheila Kelliher Berkoh said some 250 firefighters from the Los Angeles County Fire Department and another 115 from the U.S. Forest Service were battling the blaze as “robust resources” were making their way to the site where they would add there efforts throughout the night and into Thursday.

Berkoh said they have reported eight firefighters injured, six whom required transport to area hospitals.

A total of 15 aircraft, including eight tankers and seven helicopters, were also aiding in the fire-fighting effort, she said.

“At this point in time, we feel have adequate resources to meet the needs for the structure defense mission,” Deputy Fire Chief Tom Ewald of the Los Angeles County Fire Department said in the press conference.

The fire erupted as Southern California begins to experience what Ewald described as a 10-day “fairly extreme heat period,” which resulted in the eight firefighters to experience heat-related injuries.

“As we look at tomorrow’s plan, we anticipate having additional heat emergencies,” he said. “We’re going to take all of the precautions and resources available, aircraft available if we have to host people out, but we’re going to take the heat very seriously.”

Ewald added that because of the late-summer heat they expect further fires to erupt in the next week.

“We’re in this for awhile,” he said.

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