Thousands of residents near the Foothill (210) Freeway are under mandatory evacuation as a brush fire that originated in the Angeles National Forest above Sylmar spread eastward Tuesday. The blaze also resulted in the early release of students at a local elementary school.
Residents living north of the freeway between Glenoaks Boulevard in Sylmar and Lowell Avenue near the western edge of La Crescenta are being asked to leave the area as crews battle what has been dubbed the Creek fire. As of 4:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, the Los Angeles Fire Department estimated the fire had burned about 11,000 acres with zero percent contained.
Several evacuation centers have been set up including the Sylmar Recreation Center at 13109 Borden Ave., the Branford Recreation Center at 13306 Branford St. in Arleta and Pierce College in Woodland Hills.
L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said during a late Tuesday afternoon press conference it’s important for residents in the impacted areas to heed evacuation orders.
“If not for yourself, then for the safety of first responders,” she said.
During the press conference, L.A. City Mayor Eric Garcetti said at least 150,000 county residents are expected to be impacted by the fire and echoed Barger’s call for people to evacuate.
“We have lost structures; we have not lost lives,” Garcetti said.
At least 30 structures were destroyed, primarily in the Kagel and Lopez canyons area, he said.
Anita Shandi, a spokeswoman for the Glendale Fire Department, said no evacuations have been ordered in the city. However, she said the department is monitoring the fire’s spread and will act if and when necessary.
“As of right now, the weather is cooperating in Glendale’s favor,” she said. “If anything changes, that can absolutely change our response.”
However, because of the fire’s spread, Dunsmore Elementary School in La Crescenta called for an early release of its students as a result of the campus’ proximity to the evacuation area.
According to the Glendale Unified School District, students who were unable to be picked up at Dunsmore will be sent to Crescenta Valley High School.
No other schools in the district have been impacted.
In Burbank, officials are monitoring the fire’s progress but said there was no immediate danger to the city.
The Creek fire first broke out around 4 a.m. near Little Tujunga Canyon Road and rapidly spread as a result of Santa Ana winds.
By early Tuesday afternoon the fire jumped across the 210 Freeway and into the Shadow Hills area, according to the L.A. Fire Department. The evacuation order was subsequently expanded to include a portion of residents living south of the freeway.
The fire led to the closure of the 210 between the Golden State (5) and the Glendale (2) freeways. Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief John Sherman said during the press conference the closure is expected to last until at least Wednesday morning.
“Even if you live in the area, it’s a hard closure,” he said. “[People] will be turned away.”
Smoke from the fire could be seen across the county, including in Burbank and Glendale.
Also, the South Coast Air Quality Management District released an advisory urging residents in portions of the San Fernando Valley to seek shelter from the smoke.
Roughly 800 firefighters from the Southland were called in to help battle the blaze. Chief Ralph Terrazas of the L.A. Fire Department said during the press conference the “footprint” of the county’s response was first established back in September with the La Tuna fire.
He said it’s expected the fire will go on for several more days before full containment.
“This has only just begun,” Terrazas said. “You have to be constantly vigilant.”
The Creek fire is just one of several fires that erupted in Southern California Tuesday.