Fire Department downgrades #NorthFire acreage, crews continue to work throughout the day

Firefighters control the backfires they set to control the forward progress of the North Fire near West Hills Drive in Santa Clarita on Wednesday, 042821. Dan Watson/The Signal

Los Angeles County Fire Department officials downgraded the size of the North Fire from 650 acres to 640 acres early Thursday morning, and by Thursday evening, they announced firefighters had succeeded in increasing containment to 50%.   

Crews engaged with the fire throughout the day, despite high winds and temperatures with low relative humidity, officials added. 

The North Fire broke out Wednesday on the 29300 block of The Old Road, shortly before 1:30 p.m., exploding quickly from one acre to a few hundred within a matter of hours.  

As of Thursday morning, approximately 100 homes were still being considered threatened in a neighborhood off Copper Hill Drive, but firefighters believe they have made a defensive line there that will help them in keeping that part of the blaze under control.  

“Our resources have been able to create a foothold there, and we’re really able to turn back the tide of the fire at the front,” said Fire Department Inspector Jonathan Matheny on Thursday. “We’ll continue to consider them threatened due to potential wind shifts.”  

Matheny added that they would be testing the control lines during the day to ensure changing weather patterns don’t affect the homes.  

Residents evacuate from West Hills Drive in Santa Clarita on Wednesday, 042821. Dan Watson/The Signal

A total of two injuries have been reported as a result of the North Fire: one minor injury to a County Fire Department firefighter and one moderate injury to an Angeles National Forest Firefighter. Matheny said neither injury was the result of burns, and no specific information was provided regarding the nature of their injuries.  

Spread quickly by what National Weather Service personnel called “pretty dry” conditions and 16 mph winds from the north, multiple agencies from across Southern California contributed staff, equipment and aerial vehicles to assist in the operation.  

Firefighters were impeded in their efforts on Wednesday because of a combination of weather, topography, fuels and the fact that the fire was burning near a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department bomb squad training site.  

“That’s the issue we have,” said Fire Department spokesman Henry Narvaez, in reference to the fire being in and around an area with possible live ordnance, shortly after the blaze broke out. “We’ve been advised that they rather not have firefighters go in that vicinity if we didn’t need to.”  

Not long after initially breaking out, the fire spread far enough to result in mandatory evacuations for neighborhoods north and west of West Hills Drive, north of Iron Village Drive, north and west of Tesoro Del Valle and north of Copper Hill Drive.  

Voluntary evacuations for additional neighborhoods in the northern part of Valencia were suggested, however, by 10 p.m. on Wednesday.  

The cause of the fire remains under investigation as of Thursday, according to Fire Department spokesman Sean Ferguson.   

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