Calif. firefighters work to contain 5,000-acre fire amid heat wave

Crews spent much of their overnight efforts extinguishing hotspots and strengthening the containment line around the Route Fire in Castaic


Nathaniel Percy
Los Angeles Daily News

LOS ANGELES — Firefighters continued to make progress overnight on the Route fire in Castaic, extending containment lines around 37% of the blaze by sunrise, authorities said on Friday, Sept. 2.

Officials said they expect full containment of the fire by Wednesday, Sept. 7.

A bulldozer cuts a line adjacent to the 5 Freeway in Castaic on Wednesday, Aug. 31.
A bulldozer cuts a line adjacent to the 5 Freeway in Castaic on Wednesday, Aug. 31. (Photo/David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

The estimated number of scorched acres remained at 5,208, Los Angeles County Fire Department officials said.

Firefighters spent much of their overnight efforts extinguishing hotspots and strengthening the containment line. Containment is the percentage of the fire’s edge where firefighters believe flames will not go beyond because of their efforts or natural barriers.

Air quality officials warn of unhealthy levels as Route fire continues to burn

Caltrans had fully opened the southbound 5 Freeway as of 6 a.m. The two right northbound lanes remained closed.

Firefighters expected to again battle excessive heat, low humidity and steep terrain. Forecasted wind gusts on Friday of up to 20 miles per hour could cause problems.

The Route fire was first reported near Lake Hughes Road just after noon on Wednesday and chewed up more than 4,600 acres by nightfall. The fire’s progress has slowed dramatically since then and had not grown in about 24 hours.

As of Friday morning, all evacuation orders had been lifted, though 550 structures remained threatened, officials said. One home was destroyed and one outbuilding was damaged, L.A. County deputy fire chief Thomas Ewald has said.

Seven firefighters were briefly hospitalized with heat-related injuries on Wednesday, but all were released by Thursday morning, Ewald said.

On scene Friday morning were more than 500 firefighters, getting help from two helicopters.

The fire’s cause remained under investigation.

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