AGUA DULCE (KTLA) – A rapidly spreading wildfire broke out in Agua Dulce Thursday afternoon, forcing evacuations and destroying homes as it moved into the Canyon Country area.
Los Angeles County firefighters first reported the incident around 1:45 p.m. on the 31600 block of Tick Canyon Road. Dubbed the Tick Fire, it moved quickly downhill toward residential communities in Santa Clarita.
Within 20 minutes, the flames had spread to 200 acres, and by 4:40 p.m. it covered at least 3,700 acres, according to the County Fire Department.
Several structures have been lost, firefighters said.
Aerial video showed the blaze was closing in on residences in a remote area before at least one in the area went up in flames just before 2:20 p.m.
By 2:40 p.m., the flames were moving toward homes in the area of Sunrose Place, within Santa Clarita city limits, the video from Sky5 showed. Aircraft could be seen conducting water drops in the area.
Crews could be seen working to prevent the fire from advancing onto residential properties.
Several areas in Santa Clarita were under mandatory evacuation orders:
• From Soledad Canyon Road to Shadow Pines Boulevard along the 14 Freeway
• South of Vasquez Canyon Road, north and east of Plum Canyon Road, north and east of Whites Canyon Road, north of the 14 Freeway and west of Sequoia Road
• Davenport Road east of Sierra Highway, including all streets off Davenport Road
The California Highway Patrol said the 14 Freeway northbound and southbound offramps at Soledad Canyon Road would be closed indefinitely.
Sheriff’s officials said they were considering a “large evacuation footprint” due to sustaining wind and fire activity.
A shelter was set up at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, 26455 Rockwell Canyon Road. The location was moved after earlier being set at Golden Valley High School.
By 3:20 p.m., a second blaze dubbed the Tick Branch 10, was burning just outside backyards in Castaic after breaking out along the 5 Freeway. Flames could be seen singing the roofs of multiple homes.
The city of Santa Clarita said it would be posting public safety updates on its emergency website.
Critical fire weather conditions
The fire came amid widespread red flag warnings with strong Santa Ana winds fanning Southern California. Coupled with high temperatures and low humidity, fire danger in northern L.A. County was considered extreme.
Gusts of 45-55 mph were expected to continue in the Tick Fire area through Friday morning, the National Weather Service said.
The weather agency also said extreme fire behavior and continued rapid spread were likely.
Agua Dulce was among several areas where Southern California Edison had shut off power as of 12:45 p.m. in an attempt to prevent downed power lines from sparking fires.
Smoke from Thursdays fires was spreading as far as Ventura County. NWS meteorologist Keily Delerme told the Los Angeles Times that hot temperatures were contributing to the massive amount of smoke.
“That’s why the plume looks so impressive, because it’s very warm near the fire,” Delerme said.
Check back for updates on this developing story.
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