Fire crews keep close eye on flareups, make progress with Saddleridge Fire

A Cal Fire helicopter drops water on small flare-ups from the Saddleridge Fire near Weldon Canyon in Newhall Monday afternoon. Cory Rubin/The Signal

As progress continues to suppress the Saddleridge Fire, fire crews worked on extinguishing small flare-ups from the blaze in Newhall Monday afternoon. 

At least one Cal Fire helicopter was seen dropping water near Interstate 5 and Weldon Canyon. Fire personnel were also assigned near Calgrove Boulevard just before 1:30 p.m. to respond to smoke seen in the area, according to Melanie Flores, a supervisor with the California Highway Patrol. 

Their close eye on possible spot fires in and around the Santa Clarita Valley continued Monday, following response to two separate fires that ignited within minutes of each other near the northbound lanes of Highway 14 on Sunday. 

Crews work to reach small flare-ups from the Saddleridge Fire near Weldon Canyon in Newhall Monday afternoon. Cory Rubin/The Signal

While some firefighters doused small blazes in the area, officials provided an update on containment, an arson investigation and closures relating to the Saddleridge Fire that started Thursday night in Sylmar. 

As of Monday evening, the Los Angeles Fire Department reported the brush fire of 7,965 acres to be 43% contained. Changing weather with low wind activity played in firefighters’ favor to mop up the affected areas. 

“Today, firefighters will take advantage of lower wind speeds, increasing humidity and decreased temperatures,” said an LAFD news release Monday. “This weather will greatly enhance firefighters’ ability to mop up remaining hot spots. Tactical patrols will continue throughout the day to ensure containment lines remain static and smoldering debris remains isolated from unburned vegetation.” 

A total of 17 structures were destroyed as a result of the fire and 58 damaged, according to LAFD. 

On Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed an emergency declaration to help secure extra resources from state and county agencies, which the Federal Emergency Management Agency authorized. Rep. Katie Hill, D-Agua Dulce, signed a letter to the White House requesting additional funds on Friday. 

The cause of the fire remains unknown, but LAFD arson investigators determined the area of origin as a 50-by-70-foot patch beneath a high voltage transmission tower. 

“There is no evidence of a homeless encampment in the immediate area,” LAFD spokesman Nicholas Prange said in a statement on Monday. “In addition to LAFD personnel, there are investigators from Southern California Edison and private insurance companies at the site. Investigators continue to work around the clock in steep terrain, thoroughly examining all aspects of the scene in an attempt to determine a cause.”

As a result of damage related to the fire, the city of Santa Clarita announced Monday that the Elsmere Canyon Open Space “is closed until further notice as fire crews continue to mop up operations and clear hazards.” 

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