650-Acre Brush Fire In Castaic Now 35 Percent Contained

CASTAIC (CBS) — A brush fire that erupted in Castaic and prompted officials to close a portion of the northbound 5 Freeway for several hours was 35 percent contained.

The second-alarm fire, which was reported about 1:01 p.m. Friday, scorched 650 acres north of Parker Road, according to County Fire officials.

The U.S. Forest Service said the blaze started near the freeway but they don’t know the exact cause.

“When you have fire butting up against a freeway you don’t want folks to go through where they could get themselves in trouble, get in accidents or drive off the side of the freeway,” said Nathan Judy, of the U.S. Forest Service, about the highway closure.

Inspector Tony Imbrenda of the Los Angeles County Fire Department says water dropping helicopters assisted hand crews in the firefighting effort.

Edward Lawrence, reporting for KCAL9 at 8 p.m., said about 450 firefighters remained on the ground and were working to contain the blaze. At the height of the fire six helicopters and three air tanker planes dropped water and fire retardant on the flames.

The fire, which burned uphill in light to medium brush with 12 mph winds, had not threatened any structures. No injuries were reported.

California Highway Patrol officers used the same procedures to shut down the 5 Freeway that they use during heavy snowfall.

“I saw the sign when we came up off [the 14 Freeway] that [the 5 Freeway] was closed at Castaic, so we were kind of hoping that it would be open before we got here,” said Rebecca Campbell, who was stranded by the freeway closure.

By 9 p.m., Caltrans reported that the two right lanes of the northbound 5 Freeway at Lake Hughes Road were reopened.

Judy said 450 firefighters will continue to battle this fire until it is fully contained.

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