Firefighters at the Tick Fire brace for extreme winds

Area that burned in the Tick Fire as viewed from the end of Yellowstone Lane. October 26, 2019 Dan Watson/The Signal
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Firefighters struggling to get a complete line around the Tick Fire, reporting 82% containment and bracing for the strongest Santa Ana winds forecast yet, were assigned to watch for any flare-ups overnight Tuesday.

The fire that swept through Tick Canyon Thursday has now destroyed 29 structures, including two dozen homes, and damaged 46 other structures, including 40 homes.

It burned at least 4,615 acres with no official word on when officials with the Los Angeles County Fire Department expect to have full containment

Late Tuesday, those same officials issued a news release stating they’re preparing for an extreme wind event.

An extreme red flag warning goes into effect at 11 p.m. on Tuesday and remains in place until 6 p.m. Thursday, Meteorologist Joe Sirard at the Oxnard weather office said Monday afternoon.

Winds will pick up Tuesday night, with the strongest winds expected about 4 a.m. Wednesday, he said.

Sustained winds from Tuesday to Thursday are expected to be 25-40 mph. “Gusts of 65 mph will be possible, with isolated gusts of 75 mph in the hills above Santa Clarita,” he said.

Flare ups

Containing the Tick Fire and spotting flare ups are priorities while the extreme red flag warning goes into effect.

“In an effort to confront the winds expected to enter the valley Tuesday through Thursday we have increased the crews on the containment line,”  Sky Cornell, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Fire Department, said late Tuesday afternoon.

“Crews continue to pursue their search and destroy spot fires,” he said. 

“We have them entering the blackened areas, 100 feet in, using thermal imaging cameras,” Cornell said. 

Three specific areas inside the Tick Fire zone are expected to get special attention, he said.

“We have more than 100 firefighters looking out for fire,” he said.

At least 200 firefighters remain at the scene with “additional resources” within reach.

Fire officials pointed out in their latest news release: “The combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures can lead to an increased risk of wildfire. The Los Angeles County Fire Department has pre-positioned additional firefighters and equipment in areas identified as having elevated risk.

Secure flying hazards

Fire officials want the residents of the Santa Clarita Valley to secure anything that could become a flying hazard.

“Anything can become a flying hazard in high-wind conditions,” they said in the release. “And even strike power lines. 

“Store canopies, trampolines, garbage cans, grills, patio furniture and other objects — for example, tools, toys, bicycles — inside your garage or home.

They also want residents to clear loose or fallen tree branches.

An estimated 90% of wildfires are caused by people, they note.

“Remember to properly dispose of cigarettes and avoid activities that create sparks or include open flames,” they advise.

Fire officials want residents to be ready, noting: “You may need to enact your emergency plan and have your supply kit handy in case you evacuate.”

People who find they need help, now have a “local assistance center” to go to as of Wednesday, thanks to the Los Angeles County and the city of Santa Clarita.

Local Assistance Center

The assistance center is at the city of Santa Clarita Activities Center (20880 Centre Pointe Parkway) open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. beginning Wednesday, and remaining in place until Monday.

“Local Assistance Centers are a critical component of our collective disaster recovery efforts. Our County is proud to partner with the City of Santa Clarita and regional nonprofits to help our community members impacted by the Tick fire rebuild their lives as quickly as possible,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger was quoted as saying in a city news release.

“This center will provide a central location where those affected by the fire can access compassionate support, resources and free services from a variety of agencies.”

The services are free to any member of the public — no identification or documentation is needed in order to access help. Bilingual support will be available on the site, as well as support for those who have disabilities, access and functional needs. The following are examples of the type of help available:

  • Information on property clean-up, repair and rebuilding
  • Filing insurance claims
  • Replacing records lost during the wildfire, such as drivers licenses and vehicle registrations

Power outages

And, while Southern California Edison shows no intentional outages in the SCV, several local communities could see their electricity shut off.

Areas being considered for Public Safety Power Shut Offs include: Acton, Green Valley, Lake Hughes, Leona Valley, the Michael D. Antonovich Open Space Preserve, Mint Canyon.

Also eyed for possible outages are homes along: The Old Road, Placerita Canyon, Plumb Canyon, San Francisquito Canyon, Val Verde, West Hills and south of Stevenson Ranch.[email protected] 661-287-5527 On Twitter @jamesarthurholt

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