One detained after brush fire ignites in Angeles National Forest

A plume of smoke from the #DryFire is seen while overlooking Castaic Lake on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Josh Runyan

By Caleb Lunetta & Emily Alvarenga

A brush fire burned an acre in the Angeles National Forest on Wednesday, prompting a first-alarm brush response from firefighters.  

The brush fire was first reported at 1:01 p.m. near the intersection of Lake Hughes Road and Dry Gulch Road, east of Castaic Lake.  

A Los Angeles County Fire Department helicopter assists with the #DryFire on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Rick McClure

“The initial report of the fire was 1 acre in medium fuels creeping downhill with 5 mph winds,” said Henry Narvaez, a public information officer for the Los Angeles County Fire Department, at 1:20 p.m. “No structures are threatened.” 

By 1:30 p.m. Fire Department officials reported that the blaze had grown to 2 acres in medium to heavy fuel, but that some of the responding units could be released from the call.  

“We’ve canceled a majority of our resources,” said Narvaez at 1:35 p.m. “(We should have) control within two hours.” 

While the fixed-wing aircraft, bulldozers and supplementary fire engines that were part of the first alarm were called off within 30 minutes of the report, a handful of county Fire Department and Angeles National Forest personnel would remain on the scene, as well as a couple of vehicles and at least one helicopter.   

Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies also responded to the scene after receiving a report of an alleged arsonist being responsible for igniting the blaze.  

“We don’t have anybody in custody, but we are detaining one,” said Deputy Natalie Arriaga, a spokeswoman for the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station at the time of the incident. “He was seen near the area.” 

A Los Angeles County Fire Department helicopter collects water from Castaic Lake to fight the nearby #DryFire on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. Emily Alvarenga/The Signal

However, the man detained was not ultimately booked at the SCV Sheriff’s Station and was subsequently released by law enforcement personnel, Arriaga said late Wednesday afternoon. 

“They did have someone detained, but the person was not arrested; he was questioned and released,” said Sgt. Daniel Tobin of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Arson/Explosive Detail, adding that the investigation into the fire is being handled by Angeles National Forest officials as the burn area was on forest land.  

As units were en route to the scene of the fire they reported seeing a plume of smoke from a distance while heading over. 

A plume of smoke from the #DryFire is seen while overlooking Castaic Lake on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Josh Runyan

“It started out just as a small stream of white smoke and then grew into something much larger,” said Josh Runyan, who was working on a hill overlooking Castaic Lake when the fire first broke out. “I saw three helicopters fighting it and then a plane came briefly, but I think the helicopters had it under control.”  

Runyan said the air units had a short trip to refill on water — replenishing at Castaic Lake — and had “pretty quick response” because of it.  

At 1:53 p.m. forward progress was stopped at approximately 2 acres, with firefighters having fully enclosed the burn area with handlines and hose lines.    

The fire burned entirely in the forest and Angeles National Forest personnel were the handling agency.  

The fire had been dubbed the #DryFire or #DryIC by first responders.  

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