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UPDATE: Placerita Fire destroys 3 Disney sets

Firefighters work to put out hotspots near the Placerita Canyon Nature Center following the Placerita Fire on Monday, June 26, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal


In addition to having burned 760 acres over the weekend, the Placertia Fire also destroyed three of Disney’s production sets on the Golden Oak Ranch, a Disney spokesman told The Signal.

“We lost three small production set buildings that were located in the woods,” Disney spokesman David J. Jefferson said Monday afternoon.

“The vast majority of our production area was untouched and the Ranch remains fully open,” he said.

As of 6 p.m. Monday, the Placerita Fire was reported to be 75 percent contained, having burned 760 acres.

Initially believed to have burned 860 acres, fire officials were able to more accurately assess the damage Monday,  Inspector David Dantic with the Los Angeles County Fire Department said Monday.

The Placerita Fire began shortly after 1 p.m. Sunday after a car hit a tree near Placerita Canyon Road and ignited nearby brush, however, it’s not yet confirmed that incident triggered the blaze.

The official cause of the fire is still under investigation, Inspector David Dantic with the Los Angeles County Fire Department said Monday.


A half-acre fire was initially reported near Placerita Canyon Road and Highway 14, according to officials with the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

The call was received by the fire department around 12:50 p.m.

Within about 20 minutes, the fire burned at least three acres. Initially no structures were threatened.

Then the fire shifted.

Disney Ranch

“It did jump the freeway, burning towards Disney Ranch,” Captain Ron Haralson with L.A. County Fire told The Signal Sunday afternoon.

By 1:39 p.m., the fire was reported to be moving with “rapid growth” having torched eight acres.

It headed for the Disney Ranch and, at 1:39 p.m., was estimated to be about an hour away from it.

Twenty minutes later, however, shortly before 2 p.m., one structure on the Disney Ranch was already reported destroyed with at least 300 acres burned.

Hundreds of homes were threatened by the fire, fire officials confirmed at the time.  No evacuation orders had been issued yet, officials with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station said.

As the fire continued to grow officers with the California Highway Patrol shut down Highway 14 in both directions shortly after 2:10 p.m.

Around 2:45 p.m. mandatory evacuations began to be issued by authorities for residents living along Running Horse Road and Tenderfoot Trail Road.The fire was reported at “zero containment.”

Homes along Placerita Canyon Road were also evacuated.

By 3:08 p.m., close to two hours after the fire had started, at least 500 acres had burned, prompting the deployment of 230 firefighters.

By 3:30 p.m., 800 acres had been reported as burned.


Firefighters work to put out hotspots near the Placerita Canyon Nature Center following the Placerita Fire on Monday, June 26, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal


By 3:31 p.m., an evacuation center was set up at Golden Valley High School.

Residents near the Placerita Fire were advised by fire officials to keep all important paperwork and medical records on hand and should consider preparations for any pets that might need to be evacuated.

Kenneth Price, who lives off Running Horse Road, made the decision to evacuate when he saw the flames encroaching on his home.

“When we saw flames we knew it was time to go,” he said Sunday. “It’s an exact repeat. This one came…a whole lot closer.”

By 4:23 p.m., the fire had burned at least 850 acres.

L.A. County Fire Department, L.A. City Fire Department and Angeles National Forest firefighters were all working in unified command to tackle the fire.

“I think we’ll get a good handle on it pretty soon,” County Fire Department Inspector Joey Marron told The Signal late Sunday afternoon.

Northbound lanes of Highway 14 were opened up shortly after 5:30 p.m.  Southbound lanes, however, remained closed as did all on and off-ramps between Newhall Avenue and Sand Canyon Road.

In a move reminiscent of last year’s Sand Fire, all livestock evacuations were directed to the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds.

Voluntary evacuations were put in place for Lost Canyon Road, Via Princessa, Cardinal Drive, Winter Pine way, Ravenglen Road, Pineview Road, Cambria Estates Lane, and Placerita Canyon Road. Mandatory evacuations, however, remained in place for Running Horse Road and Tenderfoot Trail Road.

By late in the day, Disney Ranch began experiencing a power outage. As well, several homes in Placerita Canyon were affected by the fire, according to an update issued by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s.

Shortly after 6 p.m., fire officials revised the assessment of the fire’s damage, reported that the fire had burned 750 acres, down from an earlier estimate of 850 acres. The fire is now 50-percent contained.

Firefighting efforts overnight netted some success in bringing the Placerita Fire under control.

On Monday morning, Inspector David Dantic reported the fire was 57 percent contained, having burned a total of 870 acres.

Firefighters who fought in triple digit temps Sunday, braced themselves for more of the same Monday.


Red Flag

Fire officials paid particular attention to a red flag warning in effect from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., noting the convergence of three fire threats: high temperatures, low humidity and wind.

“We have firefighters on the ground looking for spot flareups,” Dantic said. “We’re trying to get 100 percent containment but it is a work in progress.

Asked what caused the fire, Dantic said: “That’s under investigation.”

Dantic reported no new injuries.

“We just have the four minor injuries reported yesterday,” he said, referring to Sunday.

“It was very, very hot yesterday,” Dantic said, referring to triple digit temperatures during the day.

“But we make sure our firefighters are hydrated,” he said.

“We have it pretty controlled,” he added.

Signal Staff Writer Nikolas Samuels and Signal Multimedia Journalist Samie Gebels contributed to this report.

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on Twitter @jamesarthurholt

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