Two brush fires were reported near the Santa Clarita Valley Sunday within minutes of each other, threatening structures and prompting calls for evacuations.
By late Sunday afternoon, forward progress had been halted on one of the fires, in Agua Dulce, while the other continued to burn near Gorman, consuming 1,000 acres, with 50% containment as of Monday evening.
The first incident was reported near southbound lanes of Interstate 5, south of Gorman Road, just after 1:30 p.m., according to Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Ron Haralson.
The fire, dubbed the #TumbleweedFire, was reported to have grown to more than 10 acres by 2 p.m., with Kern County Fire Department assisting and a second-alarm assignment requested, meaning the addition of fixed-wing aircraft and additional ground support, Haralson explained.
Across the valley, another second-alarm blaze was reported less than 20 minutes later, shortly after 1:45 p.m., on the 10500 block of Dale Road in Agua Dulce, Haralson added.
The second fire, dubbed the #DulceFire, had reportedly burned 4 acres, with structures threatened shortly before 2:30 p.m., per fire officials.
Gusty winds from the west were driving both fires at a rapid rate, with the Tumbleweed Fire reportedly growing to approximately 200 acres by 2:30 p.m. and evacuations ordered for residents south of the Gorman Off-Highway Motor Vehicle area.
Of the aircraft assisting in the firefight in Gorman was the Boeing Chinook CH-47 helitanker, a new addition to the L.A. County Fire Department’s air fleet, which has the capacity to carry 3,000 gallons of water — triple that of a typical firefighting helicopter.
Firefighters had stopped forward progress of the Dulce Fire at approximately 12 acres with 100% containment by 4 p.m., while the Tumbleweed Fire had grown to at least 600 acres with 0% containment, according to Haralson.
At least three firefighter injuries were reported as a result of these incidents, according to Fire Department spokesman Jonathan Matheny. At least two of the reported firefighter injuries from the Tumbleweed Fire were minor, while an ambulance was seen transporting an injured firefighter to a local hospital from the Dulce Fire.
By 7:30 p.m., the Tumbleweed Fire had burned 1,000 acres, with 10% containment, according to fire officials.
Evacuation orders remained in place for the Hungry Valley recreation area only as of Monday morning, and no structures had been lost or damaged.
SCV Sheriff’s Station officials advised the public to avoid the area and allow emergency vehicles to proceed through.
A smoke advisory was issued and set to remain in effect until Monday afternoon due to the Tumbleweed Fire, warning residents of the dangers that can come from excessively breathing in an unhealthy level of smoke.
Residents who smell smoke or see ash due to a wildfire should limit their outdoor activities as much as possible and stay indoors.
The cause of both fires is still being determined, Haralson said Monday.
— Signal Staff Writer Raychel Stewart contributed to this report.