SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (KABC) --Mandatory evacuations were expanded Sunday to include Acton as unpredictable winds pushed the Sand Fire out of forest land toward homes near the Antelope Valley.
The massive blaze destroyed 18 homes in its path and is threatening 2,000 others as the destructive blaze continues to rage. The fire has charred more than 33,000 acres, which amounts to nearly 51 square miles.
"That fire came through like a freight train," described John Tripp, incident commander with the Los Angeles County Fire Department. "We've never seen a fire come into Sand Canyon like that and neither have those residents."
The Acton evacuation includes homes along Agua Dulce Canyon Road north to the 14 Freeway, Crown Valley north to the 14 Freeway, and all of Soledad Canyon and Bootlegger Canyon, Los Angeles County fire officials said.
Sunday afternoon, the northbound 14 Freeway was shut down from the 5 Freeway to Soledad Canyon, and southbound lanes were closed from the I-5 to Avenue M. The CHP has since announced the 14 Freeway has reopened.
Fire officials said Saturday night that the blaze was at 20 percent containment, but the U.S. Forest Service corrected that figure and said the fire remains at 10 percent containment.
Most of the homes that were destroyed were in the areas of Sand Canyon, Bear Divide and Little Tujunga, said Marc Peebles, public information officer for the SoCal Incident Management Team.
In addition to the homes burned, the fire has also charred several other structures on the Sable Ranch, a well-known filming location, according to authorities.
A man's body was found in a burned sedan in the 26700 block of Iron Canyon Road, which is near one of the neighborhoods where a home had burned.
Sheriff's officials said the cause of the man's death has not been determined. They did, however, say there was no indication that the death was a criminal event. The investigation into the death is ongoing, and the identity of the man was not immediately known.
Los Angeles County fire officials said 2,000 residential buildings and 100 commercial buildings are threatened.
More than 1,673 firefighters, 122 engines, 39 hand crews, 15 helicopters and 8 dozes are being utilized to battle the fire, officials said.
Peebles said humidity levels went up overnight, which allowed nightshift firefighters to cover good ground. However, the dew point is expected to drop and temps slated to spike, creating another difficult day for the firefight amid the rugged terrain of the Angeles National Forest.
So far, 1,500 homes have been evacuated. The evacuation areas include:
- All residents in Acton along Agua Dulce Canyon Road north to the 14 Freeway; Crown Valley north to the 14 Freeway; and all of Soledad Canyon and all of Bootlegger Canyon.
- All residents in Sand Canyon from Lost Canyon to Bear Divide (extended from Robinson Ranch Golf Course).
- All residents in Placerita Canyon from the Nature Center to Sand Canyon.
- Little Tujunga from Bear Divide to LA River Ranger District (Station), 12371 Little Tujunga Cyn Rd.
Authorities initially said some residents in Sand Canyon will be allowed to return to their homes at 1 p.m. However, officials said those Sand Canyon residents will not be allowed back home due to the changing winds.
MORE: Latest evacuations, road closures, shelter updates for Sand Fire
Evacuation centers were set up at Hart High School, 24825 N. Newhall, Santa Clarita and Lake View Terrace Recreation Center, 11075 Foothill Blvd, Lake View Terrace. An evacuation center that had been open at Golden Valley High School was later closed.
Large animals can be evacuated to Hansen Dam in Sylmar or the Jack Bones Equestrian Center, 26983 Tapia Canyon Road Castaic.
For a full list of road closures, you can check http://dpw.lacounty.gov/roadclosures.
The blaze broke out Friday afternoon along the northbound 14 Freeway near Sand Canyon. The cause of the fire is under investigation.