Sand Fire burns 18 homes, threatens 1,500 others in Santa Clarita

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. -- Officials say a massive fire burning in Los Angeles County has destroyed 18 homes and is threatening 1,500 others on Sunday.

According to latest figures released by authorities, the San Fire has charred 22,000 acres, which amounts to nearly 35 square miles.

Fire officials said Saturday night that the blaze was at 20 percent containment, but the U.S. Forest Service corrected that figure and said the fire remains at 10 percent containment.

A total of 18 homes were destroyed and one home was damaged by the fire, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Most of those homes are in the areas of Sand Canyon, Bear Divide and Little Tujunga, said Marc Peebles, public information officer for the SoCal Incident Management Team.
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Marc Peebles, public information officer for the SoCal Incident Management Team, speaks to Eyewitness News about the Sand Fire in Santa Clarita.

In addition to the homes burned, the fire has also charred several other structures on the Sable Ranch, a well-known filming location, according to authorities.

A man's body was found in a car near one of the neighborhoods where a home had burned, but the cause of his death had not been determined.

Los Angeles County fire officials said at least 1,500 homes and 100 commercial buildings are threatened.

More than 1,673 firefighters, 122 engines, 8 fixed-wing air-tankers and 6 heavy heli-tankers are being utilized to battle the fire, Peebles said.

Peebles said humidity levels went up overnight, which allowed night shift firefighters to cover good ground. However, the dew point is expected to drop and temps slated to spike, creating another difficult day for the firefight amid the difficult terrain of the Angeles National Forest.

Although Sunday's temperatures are expected to be slightly cooler than Saturday, winds gusts up to 30 mph will likely hit in the afternoon and hinder firefight efforts.

The evacuation areas include:

- All residents in Sand Canyon from Lost Canyon to Bear Divide (extended from Robinson Ranch Golf Course).
- All residents in Placerita Canyon from the Nature Center to Sand Canyon.
- Little Tujunga from Bear Divide to LA River Ranger District (Station), 12371 Little Tujunga Cyn Rd.

Evacuation centers were set up at Hart High School, 24825 N. Newhall, Santa Clarita and Lake View Terrace Recreation Center, 11075 Foothill Blvd, Lake View Terrace. An evacuation center that had been open at Golden Valley High School was later closed.

Large animals can be evacuated to Hansen Dam in Sylmar or the Jack Bones Equestrian Center, 26983 Tapia Canyon Road Castaic.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a smoke advisory for parts of the San Fernando, San Gabriel and Santa Clarita valleys as well as central Los Angeles. Making air quality worse Saturday night was a separate fire that broke out a commercial building in downtown Los Angeles that also sent thick plumes of smoke into the sky.

For a full list of road closures, you can check

The blaze broke out Friday afternoon along the northbound 14 Freeway near Sand Canyon. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
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