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Tick fire near Santa Clarita is now 70% contained ahead of Santa Ana winds

Burned home on Stone Ridge Court
Rosalia Schmidt, left, and Pamela Hardine look at a neighbor’s home burned in the Tick fire in Santa Clarita.
(Michael Owen Baker / For The Times)

Firefighters continued to make significant progress Sunday against the Tick fire in Santa Clarita, with the blaze now 70% contained.

The fire, which began Thursday, has blackened more than 4,600 acres, officials said. The blaze has destroyed 29 structures and damaged 42.

On Saturday, fire crews discovered human remains in the charred path of the fire, but it was later determined that they were not related to the blaze.

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A public works employee was combing the burn area near Sand Canyon Road and Thompson Ranch Drive about 11:30 a.m. when the remains were found, said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy James Nagao. The skeletal remains had been hidden in the canyon for at least a year.

“The fire burned away the vegetation that was concealing the bones,” Sheriff’s Deputy Morgan Arteaga said.

The identity of the victim is unknown, and officials are investigating the cause of death.

The winds that fanned the Tick fire in Santa Clarita weakened Saturday, allowing firefighters to expand containment of the destructive blaze and some residents to return home.

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About 500 firefighters remained on the scene Sunday evening to get more control on the fire before Santa Ana winds kick up again at night. Some crews went north to battle the Kincade fire.

“Westerly wind shifts pose a challenge for our firefighters as they may change the potential for rekindle scenarios,” sheriff’s officials said in a statement.

Drier conditions coupled with expected winds ranging from 20 mph to 35 mph late Sunday and gusts up to 50 mph in Santa Clarita could create conditions ripe for the spread of wildfires, the National Weather Service said. The area will be under a fire weather watch.

At the height of the blaze, about 40,000 residents were ordered to evacuate. But by Sunday evening, all evacuation orders had been lifted.

The fire erupted Thursday before 1:45 p.m. along Tick Canyon Road. The winds picked up in the wee hours of Friday morning, causing the fire to breach the 14 Freeway between Sand Canyon and Agua Dulce, burning an additional 700 to 800 acres.

Severe fire and wind conditions prompted Gov. Gavin Newsom to declare a state of emergency for Los Angeles and for Sonoma County, which is grappling with the massive Kincade fire. Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn also declared a local emergency for the county Friday.

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