UPDATE: Brush fire in Newhall Pass prompts brief closure of interstate

In this file photo, a Quebec super scooper drops water on a fire that broke out in the Newhall Pass. Austin Dave/Signal

A brush fire in the Newhall Pass Tuesday afternoon was contained to five acres by firefighters who stopped the fire’s advance within 60 minutes, emergency response officials said.

The fire, believed sparked by a vehicle fire, at Calgrove Boulevard prompted the swift closure of all lanes of Interstate 5 as firefighting units responded immediately to the call, they said.

By 4:10 p.m., only the northbound lanes remained closed for the firefighting efforts, and by 4:40 p.m. some northbound lanes were reopened.

Firefighters had stopped all “forward advance” of the fire about an hour afte it was first reported, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Fire Department said.

The fire was first reported at 3:37 p.m. near the northbound lanes of I-5 at Calgrove, and by 4 p.m. had burned three acres, an official with the Los Angeles County Fire Department said.

By 4:15 p.m., the fire had consumed a total of five acres with firefighters augmented by water-dumping aircraft.

A helitanker drops water on a fire in the Newhall Pass. Austin Dave/Signal
A helitanker drops water on a fire in the Newhall Pass. Austin Dave/Signa

Firefighters reported the fire moving eastward from the interstate, but that they had a “handle” on it, cancelling bulldozers initially dispatched to the call.

Smoke described as “thick, big and black” was seen near the I-5, Austin Dave, of The Signal reported from the fire scene.

By 4:16 p.m., firefighters reported they had a perimeter drawn around at least half of the fire.

More details about the fire are expected to be released to the media soon, according to a news release issued by the Fire Department shortly before 4 p.m.

Fire officials had braced themselves for brush fires this week as hot dry weather conditions created concern.

A Fire Weather Watch was posted by the National Weather Service for the areas of Los Angeles County including the Santa Clarita Valley.

Weather officials posted the special cautionary watch for wednesday evening with expectation of gusty northwest winds.

“The strong upper level trough will move through the area on Thursday, resulting in a significant increase in northwest to north winds for areas such as the interstate 5 corridor,”

“Critical fire weather conditions will be possible fore areas that experience the strong winds and low relative humidity,” the weather service message reads.

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