The Tick Fire broke out around 2 p.m. and quickly spread to at least 3,700 acres with the help of strong winds and dry brush. The Los Angeles County Fire Department ordered mandatory evacuations for homes in the area of Soledad Canyon Road to Shadow Pines Boulevard along the 14 freeway, KABC-TV reported.
Several homes burned as two fires — the other blaze burned structures in the Castaic area — raged to the edge of the Santa Clarita area, north of L.A. Fire Chief Daryl Osby says there is no containment of either blaze.
Fire officials said the Tick Fire was moving so fast that it was difficult to get evacuation orders out ahead of the flames. The Los Angeles Times reported some residents were seen running from their homes as the fire approached. No injuries were initially reported.
The fire was one of several burning across Southern California as the firefighters tried getting a handle on the situation. The task could be made more difficult, as forecasters expect winds to pick up in the evening, with gusts between 40 to 60 mph.
A resident covers his face as a wildfire approaches on Thursday in Santa Clarita, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Additional evacuation orders were also given for those in the areas of Vasquez Canyon Road, north and east of Plum Canyon, north and east of Whites Canyon Road and Davenport Road east of Sierra Highway.
Flames and smoke forced authorities to close a portion of the northbound lanes of Interstate 5 and the 14 in Castaic. Nearby, several homes were burning as embers carried by the wind landed and ignited flames.
“We’re doing everything possible to reduce the spread,” said Sean Rios, a spokesman for the L.A. County Fire Department. “The wind is a major factor. All ground and aerial resources are being utilized to the best of their capabilities, but we’re going to be here for a while.”
Some homeowners told KABC they were grateful for the firefighters’ efforts.
A man walks along Sierra Highway as flames from a wildfire overtake a hillside Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. The flames are fed by dry winds that are predicted to strengthen throughout the day across the region. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
“Those fire helicopter guys, those are rock stars, man,” said one Canyon Country resident. “They do incredible jobs. Not much you can do. Just pray. Do what you can. Help your neighbors. That’s about it.”
The Red Cross has set up an evacuation center at the College of the Canyons in Valencia; people with large animals and livestock were directed to go to Pierce College in Woodland Hills. Several schools and colleges announced closings for Thursday and Friday.
A burnt house lays flooded as leftover flames from the Tick Fire continue to burn in the Santa Clarita, Calif. on Thursday. (AP Photo/ Christian Monterrosa)
Earlier Thursday, 80 homes were evacuated in San Bernardino as a brush fire consumed around 70 acres, KNBC-TV reported.
The wildfires come as residents in the Northern California town of Geyserville and those near vineyards were forced to evacuate as a monstrous fire burns in Sonoma County.
Pacific Gas & Electric Co., the state’s largest utility, said Thursday it was too soon to determine whether faulty equipment started the fire in California’s wine country.
The utility told state regulators that it learned of a transmission level outage on Wednesday night in the Geysers, the world’s largest geothermal field. The wildfire was reported minutes later in the same area.
PG&E has taken to periodic power outages to prevent more wildfires after it was found at fault for last year’s Camp Fire, the state’s most destructive. Another blackout is expected this weekend, the company said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.