SCV sees early start to the fire season

first_imgSANTA CLARITA – While April showers bring May flowers, soaring temperatures in June are known to bring something else – fire. Wednesday marks the start of Los Angeles County’s fire season, a time of year with no annual start or stop date but instead is determined by heat, humidity and wind conditions. And already, the threesome has created some small half-acre fires around Santa Clarita. “We’re starting to have little fires pop up here and there and everywhere,” county Fire Department Capt. Marshall Oldham said. Other areas of the county also have seen small brush fires. Calabasas recently had a seven-acre blaze, and on the other end of the county, the San Gabriel Valley has also dealt with smaller fires, said county fire Inspector Jason Hurd. “We’ve already had started to have some fires which will lead us into the beginning of our season,” he said. Homes sitting next to hillsides are especially vulnerable during this time, however all homeowners and businesses are urged to clear vegetation at least 50 feet away from their front doors, Hurd said. Locally one hot spot that firefighters watch closely is Interstate 5 between Castaic and Gorman. The patch of land has experienced many small brush fires over the years, and firefighters attribute that to a steep grade on that section of the freeway. At times, brake shoes on trucks passing through the pass have broken off, been knocked off the road and sparked fires in weeds and brush. Other times cars will overheat, catch fire and ignite the nearby dehydrated land, Oldham said. The area is an especially tough spot to fight fires, because it lacks accessible water. So firefighters have to bring it on their trucks. At times, helicopters that drop water over the blazes are called in for help. Ones used today are converted Black Hawk helicopters and can hold up to 1,000 gallons of water. This aircraft replaces older helicopters, which held up to 360 gallons of water. [email protected] (661) 257-5254160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2Firefighters contained two half-acre fires on Sunday in Santa Clarita, which has already had some five-acre blazes strike hillsides in Saugus and around Interstate 5 and the Antelope Valley Freeway. Although this year’s rainy season seemed to pour endless buckets of rain over the area, the brush it had soaked in then is now drying out faster than expected and is starting to burn, Oldham said. Still some moisture is clinging to the grass, hillsides and other greenery, and that’s why the area hasn’t had larger fires yet, he said. In 2004, the area witnessed the most significant wildfires to date when 39,000 acres burned in the Angeles National Forest and areas surrounding Santa Clarita. But fire conditions are changing quicker in the Antelope Valley, an area dominated by stronger winds and warmer temperatures than Santa Clarita, and is already regularly experiencing smaller wildfires. last_img

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