Some residents who were under mandatory evacuations due to the wind-driven Saddleridge Fire are being allowed to go home, officials announced Saturday morning. The Saddleridge fire has burned at least 7,552 acres and damaged or destroyed 31 homes and structures. The fire is currently 19% contained with more than 1,000 fire personnel attacked the blaze with an "aggressive overnight air operations in support of ground crews," to help "reinforce containment lines."
The Saddleridge Fire was first reported just after 9 p.m. on Thursday after it was spotted off the westbound Foothill (210) Freeway near Yarnell Street and Saddle Ridge Road in Sylmar. At one point, the gusty Santa Ana winds blew embers across the Golden State (5) Freeway, sparking another fire that burned into Granada Hills and Porter Ranch, officials with the Los Angeles Fire Department said. Firefighters have been battling the blaze for the last few days, with the fire 13 percent contained as of 5 pm Friday afternoon.
At the height of the mandatory evacuations, more than 100,000 people were asked to leave the area that included Porter Ranch, Granada Hills and Sylmar. The fire forced officials to close the 118, 5 and 210 Freeways in the area, but those have since reopened with a few remaining closures.
For those residents who are still under mandatory evacuation, fire officials say they have the opportunity to be escorted by LAPD personnel to their homes in order to retrieve important documents, medication, small pets or a chance of clothes.
People who wish to return briefly to their homes should go to:
- The Porter Ranch Towncenter at Porter Ranch & Rinaldi
- At the Target located at northwest corner of Balboa & San Fernando Mission.
- Sylmar Recreation Center at the intersection of Borden and Polk.
Residents will have five minutes to retrieve their belongings, at which point, they'll be escorted back out of the evacuation area. Residents much provide proof of residence if they wish to be escorted back to their homes.
“If individuals refuse to leave, they'll be admonished, we'll body- worn camera record them, we will get their next of kin and their information, and they'll be left there over our objections,'' LAPD Chief Michel Moore told reporters Friday evening.
At least one fatality has been associated with the Saddleridge Fire after officials reported that an adult male had died from cardiac arrest. One firefighter was injured and he was taken to a local hospital. Thirty-one structures were destroyed or damaged.
The cause of the fire has not been determined.
"This is a very dynamic fire. The public can help us by listening to police officers and firefighters... Do not wait to leave. If we ask you to evacuate, please evacuate," LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas said at a Friday morning news conference.
Footage obtained by KFI News showed homes and condos burning as wind gusts continued to blow through the area. At least one home on Singing Hills Drive was seen completely gutted by the fire that had raged through overnight.
- SB 5 truck route
- SB 14 to SB 5 truck route
- NB 5 to NB 14 truck route
- 118 freeway
- 14 freeway
- Northbound 5 truck route
Fire officials announced Saturday that all evacuations have been lifted for the areas affected by the Saddleridge Fire.
Several evacuation centers have been opened in the area with some of them already filled with residents.
The current list of evacuation centers include:
People and small pets:
- OPEN: Lanark Recreation Center (21816 Lanark St)
- FULL: Sylmar Recreation Center (13109 Borden Ave)
- OPEN: Northridge Recreation Center (18300 Lemarsh St)
- OPEN: Granada Hills Recreation Center (16730 Chatsworth St)
- OPEN: Mason Park (10,500 Mason Ave)
- OPEN: Brandford Rec Center (13306 Brandford St)
- OPEN: Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks Rec Center (14201 Huston St)
- OPEN: Balboa Recreation Center (17015 Burbank Blvd)
Hansen Dam (11770 Foothill Blvd)
Pierce College (6201 Winnetka Ave)
- If you need help with the evacuation of large animals, contact East Valley Animal Shelter 818-756-9323
Listen to KFI News for the latest updates on acreage, evacuations and closures.
Photos: Getty Images