Saddleridge fire, A rapid forest fire on Friday continued its destructive march to the foothills of the northern San Fernando Valley. At least 25 houses were burned, roads closed and thousands forced to flee.
#SaddleridgeFire Los Angeles County Firefighters working all out! A physical and mental delivery from Camp 12 personnel creating a fuel break in an extreme fire behavior environment. This highlights the challenges of night firefighting @LACOFD @Angeles_NF @LAFD @LASDHQ @LAPDHQ pic.twitter.com/ngQ0sVx90F
— L.A. County Fire Department (@LACoFDPIO) October 11, 2019
The fire of Saddleridge, which broke out around 21 hours. On Thursday, in Sylmar, on the north side of Highway 210, in the midst of strong winds from Santa Ana, the wind quickly spread overnight to West, Porter Ranch, and other communities.
It burned more than 4700 hectares at a rate of about 800 hectares per hour, Los Angeles Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas said Friday.
“These weather conditions are important,” Terrazas said. “You can imagine that the embers of the wind have traveled considerable distances, which triggers other fires.”
Mandatory evacuations have already been issued in approximately 23,000 homes forming a large portion of neighborhoods north of Highway 118 from Tampa Avenue to the Ventura County boundary, which covers 100,000 people. The authorities have warned that other communities close to fire should be ready to leave at any time. A firefighter was slightly injured in the eye while fighting the fire and a man in his fifties died of a heart attack while talking with the firefighters on Friday morning, announced authorities. The authorities have not been able to confirm the reports that the man was attempting to fight the fire at home before being beaten.
Los Angeles Police Department chief Michel Moore said he saw residents staying behind to fight the furious flames of their property with garden hoses. He urged residents to evacuate once ordered
“These people not only put themselves in imminent danger but also placed first responders, such as police and firefighters, in the same dangerous state because of our need and our desire to enter and attempt to rescue, “said Moore.
More than 1,000 firefighters from several agencies continued to attack the fire by air and land on Friday. Authorities deployed helicopters and amphibious firefighters known as Super Scoopers, while ground crews instructed excavators to cut containment lines on nearby slopes to limit the spread of fire. At least one tanker covered the fire retardant through the ridges between Granada Hills and Porter Ranch.
Saddleridge fire, However, the incessant north-east winds with gusts of up to 50 mph, low humidity and rising temperatures, which can dry out the weeds that fuel the fire, put crews at a disadvantage. Authorities said they hoped it would take days to control the fire.
“Nobody goes home immediately,” Terrazas said.
The wind continued to push the westbound fire towards the residential neighborhoods of Porter Ranch and further west towards the less populated areas that approached Rocky Creak Park, near the Ventura County boundary, said Captain Branden Silverman, spokesman for the Los Angeles Department of Police Department.
“They (Porter Ranch) are basically the hot spot right now,” said Silverman. “We are trying to keep the envelope on Highway 118. Obviously, it’s a good fire for us, but if the winds turn south, it would be in Chatsworth.”
Silverman said the fire was similar to the 2008 Sayre fire near Sylmar, which destroyed about 500 homes, including Oakridge Mobile Home Park, which was scheduled for evacuation on Thursday. The Sayre fire was one of the most destructive forest fires in the city’s history.