Brush fire threatening homes near Santa Clarita amid red-flag conditions

A water drop on the Martindale fire burning above Bouquet Canyon Road in the Angeles National Forest, north of Santa Clarita.
(Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times)

A brush fire ignited Monday afternoon above Santa Clarita, enveloping 300 acres within minutes as it burned with “a rapid rate of speed,” fire authorities said. It comes amid heightened fire danger in Southern California with rising temperatures and strengthening winds.

The blaze, which has been dubbed the Martindale Fire, broke out just after 3 p.m., burning a 10-acre area about 15 miles northeast of Santa Clarita, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Within about 20 minutes, it had spread to 200 acres. The fire is moving south, buffeted by “gusty winds,” the Angeles National Forest Service said.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department ordered residents to evacuate about a dozen homes south of Bouquet Reservoir, between the dam and mile marker 11.5. Authorities issued an evacuation warning for the area south of mile marker 11.5 to Texas Canyon Fire Station. Some structures are threatened by flames, fire authorities said. Bouquet Canyon Road is closed between Vasquez Canyon and Bouquet Reservoir.

Darren Kaye, a Forest Service firefighter, places flanking flags to determine the origin of the Martindale fire.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for the Los Angeles and Ventura county mountains and the Santa Clarita Valley, noting the conditions could last for several days.

The warning includes the potential for “rapid fire growth and extreme fire behavior if ignition occurs” as well as the threat of smoke plumes and heat-related illnesses.

But it’s the combination of variables that is the greatest concern as a new heat wave bears down on the region: The forecast calls for gusty Santa Ana winds up to 40 mph, humidity levels in the teens and single digits, and temperatures in the valleys as high as 100 degrees by Wednesday and in the 90s in some coastal areas.

A heat advisory will be in effect from 10 a.m. Tuesday to 8 p.m. Thursday throughout much of the region, and the National Weather Service is urging residents to take extra precautions when spending time outside.