State of emergency declared to help battle Sand Fire

Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Sand Fire chars more than 37,000 acres, 25 percent contained
The Sand Fire has charred more than 37,000 acres in northern Los Angeles County and only been 25 percent contained.

AGUA DULCE, Calif. (KABC) -- Even as firefighters make progress battling the 37,000 acre Sand Fire, acting Gov. Tom Torlakson on Tuesday declared a state of emergency for Los Angeles County to provide more resources to firefighters and help to victims.

Torlakson, the state superintendent of public instruction, is acting governor while Gov. Jerry Brown and other officials are in Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention.

The order authorizes additional state personnel and equipment to help firefighters. It also provides a range of assistance to fire victims, such as the waiver of state fees for lost documents and faster processing of unemployment insurance applications and other state benefits.

Torlakson issued a similar emergency order for Monterey County, where the Soberanes Fire has burned through more than 20,000 acres in four days.

The Sand Fire, last estimated at 37,701 acres was listed at 25 percent containment on Tuesday. Many of the residential evacuations had been lifted.

Nearly 3,000 firefighters from multiple agencies are working to quell the massive blaze, which started Friday afternoon along the northbound 14 Freeway near Sand Canyon.

Many of the remaining flames on Tuesday were burning in higher elevations of the Angeles National Forest, south of Agua Dulce and farther away from homes.

But officials warned a very real danger still remains.

"You saw this fire burn 10,000 acres a day for three days, and that can certainly happen again," said Marc Peebles, public information officer with SoCal Incident Management Team 3. "With only 25 percent containment, we still have 75 percent of the 37,000-plus acre fire that is unsecured."

The blaze quickly grew, charring thousands of acres each day and prompting evacuations for about 20,000 residents.

But by Monday night, a majority of those residents were allowed to return home.

Only residents in areas along Placentia Canyon Road, Little Tujunga Canyon Road, Agua Dulce Canyon Road and Soledad Canyon Road areas were still under mandatory evacuation orders.

The body of a man, who coroner officials said refused to evacuate an area, was found inside a car in the 26700 block of Iron Canyon Road Saturday night. The coroner identified him Tuesday as 67-year-old Robert Bresnick.

Since the fire started, 18 homes in Sand Canyon, Bear Divide and Little Tujunga were destroyed, but thousands more were protected.

Sand Fire flames eat through dry brush in the Santa Clarita area hillsides on Tuesday, July 26, 2016.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health also issued an air quality advisory for the Santa Clarita, Antelope and San Gabriel valleys as well as the San Gabriel Mountains area. The advisory was expected to stay in effect at least until midnight Wednesday.


The evacuation areas include:

- All residents along Placerita Canyon Road from Running Horse Lane to Pacy Street.

- All residents along Little Tujunga Canyon Road from the Wildlife Way Station to Sand Canyon Road and Placerita Canyon Road.

- All residents in Agua Dulce Canyon Road, about one-quarter mile south of the 14 Freeway to Soledad Canyon Road and Soledad Canyon Road one mile east and west of Agua Dulce Canyon Road.

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. Another evacuation center was set up at Highland High School, 39055 25th Street West, Palmdale. The Evacuation Center at Golden Valley High School was closed.

Large animals should be evacuated early in the morning to avoid congestion and allowing access to firefighting equipment, officials said. They can be evacuated to Antelope Valley Fairgrounds, 2551 W. Avenue H, Lancaster and Pierce College, 6201 Winnetka, Woodland Hills, Hansen Dam, 1798 Foothill Blvd, Lake View Terrace.

About 770 large animals were in the care of Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control. Small animals can go to Hart High School and Highland High School.

For a full list of road closures, you can check