5 Freeway lanes reopen after brush fire at Newhall Pass

Camp Pendleton fire
Smoke rises from a fire at Camp Pendleton in San Diego County.
(Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)

At least two lanes in each direction of the 5 Freeway at the Newhall Pass have been reopened after a fast-moving brush fire, whipped by strong Santa Ana winds gusting to 63 mph, briefly blocked traffic at the 14 Freeway interchange, authorities said.

Crews from the city and county of Los Angeles and the Angeles National Forest were called to battle the blaze.

“Super scooper” planes were used to douse flames after the fire jumped to the west side of the 5 Freeway. By midafternoon, Capt. Thomas Richards of the Los Angeles County Fire Department said, no open flames were visible as firefighters brought the 10- to 15-acre fire under control.

Two lanes on each side of the 5 Freeway have been reopened, according to the California Highway Patrol.


Separately, firefighters took 10 minutes to put out a quarter-acre blaze in Glendale near the interchange of the 2 and 134 freeways.

In San Diego County, a brush fire at Camp Pendleton burned more than 120 acres and forced evacuation of housing north of Lake O’Neill on the sprawling Marine Corps base, officials said. Smoke was visible from the 5 Freeway and parts of northern San Diego County, but the fire was not considered a threat to the community of Fallbrook. Firefighters from Camp Pendleton and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection were there.

The forecast for warm temperatures, low humidity and high winds through the weekend created what the National Weather Service called the “highest wildfire threat we have seen in years.” The weather service extended the red flag alert for most of L.A. County through Sunday evening.

But some relief is on the way, the weather service said. Winds are expected to drop to 15 to 25 mph Saturday night and Sunday morning.


Light rain is forecast for Tuesday night, with a 30% chance of showers by Wednesday afternoon, said Stuart Seto, a weather specialist with the agency.
Wind gusts hit 90 mph in Laguna Peak in Ventura County on Saturday morning and 63 mph in the Newhall Pass.

The gusts were less intense closer to the ocean: Leo Cabrillo Beach had 37-mph gusts. Relative humidity plunged as low as 5% to 15%.


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