PORTER RANCH (CBSLA) — The more than 7,500-acre Saddle Ridge Fire has forced mandatory evacuations, closed several freeways and sent thousands seeking shelter.
Mandatory evacuations are in place for all of Porter Ranch north of the 118 Freeway, from Reseda to DeSoto, Oakridge Estates north of the 210 and west of Balboa, north of Sesnon to the Ventura County border with DeSoto as the west edge. Large swaths of neighborhoods to the east and west of the mandatory evacuation were also warned to be ready to get out.
Five evacuation centers have been opened to take in evacuees and their small pets. Officials earlier said that four of them were at capacity, but space has been freed at:
- Brandford Rec Center, 13306 Brandford St.
- Granada Hills Recreation Center, 16730 Chatsworth St.
- Northridge Recreation Center, 18300 Lemarsh St.
- Lanark Recreation Center, 21816 Lanark St.
- Van Nuys Rec Center, 14301 Vanowen St.
- Balboa Rec Center, 17015 Burbank Blvd.
Sylmar Recreation Center, 13109 Borden Ave., and Mason Recreation Center, 10500 Mason Ave., were at capacity.
Large animals were being evacuated to the Hansen Dam Equestrian Center, 11127 Orcas Ave. in Lake View Terrace. Pierce College, 6201 Winnetka Ave., in Woodland Hills is also accepting evacuated horses. Those who need help evacuating large animals should contact East Valley Animal Shelter at 818-756-9323.
The area is intersected by several freeways, which have been shut down. Road closures include:
- Eastbound 118 connector to the westbound 210 Freeway
- Eastbound connector to the northbound 405 Freeway
- The Old Road southbound at Pico Canyon
As of 3:30 p.m., CHP was starting to escort vehicles off the southbound 5 Freeway at Calgrove Boulevard.
- 118 Freeway
- 14 Freeway
- NB 5 truck route
6:00 AM UPDATE #SaddleridgeFire
These are open in both directions:
Northbound 5 truck route
SB 5 truck route
SB 14 to SB 5 truck route
NB 5 to NB 14 truck route
— Caltrans District 7 (@CaltransDist7) October 12, 2019
Metrolink suspended service on the Antelope Valley Line between the Sylmar/San Fernando and Newhall stations and said they were also unable to provide buses through the area because of the freeway closures. Santa Clarita Transit says all of its commuter routes are unable to operate amid the fire.
Local governmental agencies were also shut down Friday due to the fire, including Sylmar’s Juvenile Courthouse, and the Chatsworth and San Fernando offices of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
With bone-dry conditions in the forecast, public safety power shutoffs were implemented as soon as Santa Ana winds began to kick off. In the city of L.A., LADWP said power flow was shut off along major transmission lines near the Saddle Ridge Fire. However, LADWP reports no outages because power is being rerouted using other paths away from burn areas.
Los Angeles Unified School District had a full list of school closures in Porter Ranch and Granada Hills areas. Schools in the northwest and northeast district, Topanga Elementary Charter, Roscomare Road Elementary, and Elementary CES were on a minimum day schedule. An LAUSD robocall informed parents that transportation services would also be delayed throughout the district.
In the Santa Clarita Valley, all Hart, Sulphur Springs, Newhall and Castaic Union District schools were closed, along with all PUC schools, Cal State Northridge, Pierce College, LA Mission College and Los Angeles Valley College in the San Fernando Valley. Magnolia Science Academy 1, 2, 5 and 7 were also closed Friday.
In Ventura County, several school districts announced they would close Friday due to SoCal Edison’s public safety power shutoffs. The following schools and districts were closed Friday:
- Fillmore Unified School District
- Simi Valley Unified School District
- Los Cerritos Middle School and Lang Ranch Elementary in the Conejo Valley Unified School District
- MATES Charter School in Thousand Oaks
- Mupu School near Santa Paula