Despite a high wind warning, a promise of returning gusty Santa Ana winds and the threat of fire, Santa Clarita Valley enjoyed sunny skies and a moderate wind Thursday while other communities in the county struggled with flame and destruction.
Officials with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, however, cautioned SCV residents Thursday to be ready for the worst.
“Remain vigilant through the Santa Ana wind conditions,” Shirley Miller, spokeswoman for the SCV Sheriff’s Station advised in a posting on the sheriff’s social media Thursday.
As of 3 p.m. Thursday, the Rye Fire which on Tuesday threatened homes on the western edge of the SCV and prompted the evacation of schools, businesses and a mobile home park, burned about 7,000 acres was 15 percent contained.
The fire, pushed by winds blowing from the desert to the ocean, crossed the Ventura County line shortly after noon Wednesday.
“Firefighters made progress throughout the night constructing and holding perimeter fire lines,” fire officials reported on a post to their website.
“The return of strong offshore winds are a major concern today and residents are reminded to stay vigilant as conditions can quickly change,” the officials advised.
Santa Clarita Valley residents were advised by first responders to take a number of specific precautions in making their “wildfire plan,”, including:
- Know your wildfire risk.
- Familiarize yourself with local emergency plans. Know where to go and how to get there should you need to evacuate.
- Make a wildfire emergency plan including an evacuation plan and a communication plan.
- Many communities have text or email alerting systems for emergency notifications. To find out what alerts are available in your area, search the Internet with your town, city, or county name and the word “alerts.”
- Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
- Stay tuned to your phone alerts, TV, or radio, for weather updates, emergency instructions or evacuation orders.
Local officials stressed that while Thursday was relatively calm SCV is not out of the woods yet, with so many other fires still raging and still uncontained.
To the west, SCV motorists encounter the Thomas Fire, to the south the Skirball Fire and to the east, the Creek Fire.
The Creek Fire burning four miles east of Sylmar, just on the other side of the Angeles National Forest, remains just 10 percent contained, having burned 12,605 acres. At least 15 structures were destroyed, 15 others damaged.
The Thomas Fire to the west of SCV in Ventura County remains just 5 percent contained having already burned 96,000 acres.
The fire pushed north of Ojai Thursday – seen from the SCV as a plume of billowing smoke west of Castaic.
Fire officials described the emerging fire near Ojai as a “significant fire growth.”
It was reported to be moving north toward the Santa Barbara County Line and Lake Casitas as well as toward the Los Padres National Forest and the Sespe Wilderness.
For SCV commuters driving to work in LA, the Skirball Fire which flared up along Interstate 405 Wednesday night, became unavoidable Thursday morning, near the northbound lanes of the 405 and Mulholland Drive.
The fire which destroyed 475 acres and with 400 firefighters battling to put it out, remained at 20 percent contained by day’s end.
With so many homes threatened all around the SCV, local residents were reminded to prepare their own home.
Sheriff’s officials advised Thursday:
- Create and maintain an area about 30 feet away from you home that is free of anything that will burn, such as wood piles, dried leaves, newspapers, brush, and other landscaping that can burn.
- From 30 feet to 100 feet reduce or replace as much of the most flammable vegetation as possible and prune vegetation, create “fuel breaks,” such as driveways, gravel walkways, and lawns.
- Work with neighbors to create spaces up to 200 feet around your homes where vegetation is thinned to remove underbrush and tall trees do not touch each other for continuous canopies.
- Regularly clean the roof and gutters.
On Twitter @jamesarthurholt