SYLMAR, Calif. (CNS) - A brush fire that broke out in the Kagel Canyon area above Sylmar, charred more than 11,300 acres, destroyed about 30 homes and prompted the evacuation of more than 100,000 people from their homes raged on for a second day today even though air crews made overnight water drops in a bid to douse the flames.
No fatalities were reported but three firefighters were injured Tuesday in their battle against the Creek Fire, which was five percent contained Wednesday. All were in stable condition, with at least two of them expected to be released from hospitals, said Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
The blaze broke out at 3:42 a.m. Tuesday in the area of Gold Creek and Little Tujunga roads, the Los Angeles County Fire Department reported. More than 600 firefighters battled the blaze amid strong Santa Ana winds, some gusting at 70 mph.
At least 30 homes were destroyed, about 20 of them in the Little Tujunga, Kagel Canyon and Lopez Canyon areas. The other 10 homes were within Los Angeles city limits, according to Stewart.
"Resources are fully engaged saving lives and defending property," she said.
Sylmar resident Virginia Padilla, whose family owns a ranch in Sylmar, told NBC4 in Los Angeles the fire killed at least 30 of the ranch's horses. Padilla said she and her family were able to get out of her home just in time but were not able to take their horses with them as they had to evacuate immediately when they were awakened Tuesday morning.
Mayor Eric Garcetti said evacuation orders were affecting about 150,000 residents, but a Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman put the number at around 120,000.
As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, an estimated 11,377 acres had burned and 2,500 structures were threatened, according to the U.S. Forest Service, which was fighting the fire in a unified command with the Los Angeles city and county fire departments.
Three helicopters, 90 engines and two bulldozers were also deployed, according to the Forest Service.
LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas warned that the battle was likely to continue until at least Friday.
"This has only just begun," he said.
The Los Angeles Police Department was on a citywide tactical alert, which allows commanders maximum flexibility in deploying resources.
Up-to-the-minute information on road closures and evacuations can be found at www.lafd.org/news/creek-fire-status.
The Foothill (210) Freeway was closed in both directions between the Golden State (5) Freeway on the west and the Glendale (2) Freeway and aren't expected to be reopened until at least later Wednesday morning. The 210 interchange with the Ronald Reagan (118) Freeway was also closed.
As the fire expanded and jumped south of the Foothill Freeway, so did the mandatory evacuation area. Evacuations were initially ordered in the area north of the Foothill Freeway from Glenoaks Boulevard on the west to the border with La Crescenta on the east.
But by early Tuesday afternoon, the eastern boundary of the evacuation area had been expanded to the Haynes Canyon area. And an area south of the Foothill Freeway was ordered evacuated in Shadow Hills between Sunland Boulevard to the south, Wentworth Street to the north and Tuxford Street to the west, officials said.
Seventeen evacuation centers were opened throughout the San Fernando Valley, all of which were accepting evacuees and pets. The fire also forced a mass evacuation of large animals, primarily horses but also others such as alpacas.
Large-animal evacuation centers at Pierce College, the Los Angeles Equestrian Center and Hansen Dam Recreation Area quickly reached capacity. The Pomona Fairplex and the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds in Lancaster also opened stables for evacuated animals.
For small animals, shelters were in place at West Valley Animal Shelter, 20655 Plummer St., and the East Valley Animal Shelter, 14409 Vanowen St.
The fire affected a number of schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District, prompting the closures of 14 campuses in the fire area Wednesday. Twenty-one charter schools in the area also shut down.
Los Angeles Mission College's Main Campus at 13356 Eldridge Ave. and the East Campus at 12890 Harding St., both in Sylmar, were closed.