LATEST: Firefighters Work to Extinguish Saddleridge Wildfire

A firefighter works to extinguish a brush fire raging as part of the Saddleridge fire on the evening of Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019 beside the 5 freeway, just north of Sylmar, Calif. in the Newhall Pass. (Joshua Nicoloro/The Corsair)

A firefighter works to extinguish a brush fire raging as part of the Saddleridge fire on the evening of Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019 beside the 5 freeway, just north of Sylmar, Calif. in the Newhall Pass. (Joshua Nicoloro/The Corsair)

Roughly 100,000 people have been forced from their homes as the Saddleridge wildfire blazes across the San Fernando Valley, impacting residents of Granada Hills, Sylmar and Porter Ranch. Flames have burned 8,391 acres, destroying 17 structures and damaging 77. According to the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD), one person -- described as a 54-year-old man -- died of a heart attack Friday morning in Porter Ranch in an effort to protect his home from the fire. Two firefighters were reported to be injured as of Saturday evening.

The wildfire’s containment sits at 44% Tuesday morning. All evacuation zones have been lifted and all previously closed freeways are now open.

LATEST (Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019 - 2:00 a.m.): Over 8,000 acres have been burned and the fire is 44% contained. Monday afternoon, a 4-feet-by-4-feet flame was alerted to firefighters by Southern California Gas Co. crew members. According to Nicholas Prange of the Los Angeles Fire Department, the small fire — which blazed in the soil on the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility in Porter Ranch — poses no risks to public safety.

UPDATE (Monday, Oct. 14, 2019 - 1:00 p.m.): The fire is now 43% contained. According to fire officials: Firefighters continue to put out remaining hot spots, isolate smoldering debris from unburned vegetation and shore up containment lines aided by lower wind speeds, increasing humidity and lower temperatures. Outdoor activities at re-opened San Fernando Valley schools will be restricted to limit smoke exposure. LAUSD spokeswoman Barbara Jones says maintenance crews worked over the weekend to replace air filters and clean the schools to be ready in time for Monday classes. A section of the Angeles National Forest is closed due to the fire, according to officials.

UPDATE (Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019 - 10:00 p.m.): More favorable weather conditions helped firefighters gain an upper hand over the blaze on Sunday. All Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) campuses have been cleared to resume regular classes Monday morning (Oct. 14), according to LAUSD spokeswoman Barbara Jones. Cal State Northridge spokesman Carmen Ramos Chandler says the college will also resume full operations Monday. Additionally, L.A. Mission, Pierce and Valley colleges of the Los Angeles Community
College District (LACCD), according to LACCD spokesman William Boyer.

UPDATE (Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019 - 9:00 a.m.): Fire officials say the blaze is now 41% contained.

UPDATE (Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019 - 7:00 a.m.): The South Coast Air Quality Management District for L.A. County issued an unhealthful smoke advisory this morning. 32 structures have been damaged or destroyed. Of the destroyed structures, 16 were single family residencies. Nine of the damaged structures were homes. Humidity levels increased 20-25% by Saturday night and winds calmed to 3-5 miles per hour.

UPDATE (Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019 - 5:00 p.m.): All evacuations related to the Saddleridge fire are lifted, according to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). 7,965 acres have been burned and the blaze is now 33% contained.

As of Saturday morning, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) stated that the following freeways had been REOPENED: Southbound 14, eastbound 118, northbound 405, north/southbound 5, northbound 5 connector to the northbound 14, eastbound 210 at the 5, westbound 210 at the 118 and northbound 5 truck route. The three following routes remained CLOSED: southbound 5 truck route, southbound 14 to southbound 5 truck route and northbound 5 to northbound 14 truck route.

Weather conditions improved Saturday morning, as winds slowed. Humidity levels in the area remain in single digits, equating to very dry conditions. A red flag warning -- a notice signaling warm temperatures, very low humidity and strong winds that project to create an increased risk of fire danger -- has been extended to 6 p.m. tonight in affected areas as a result. UPDATE: This red flag warning expired at 6 p.m. Saturday night, according to National Weather Service Meteorologist Kristen Stewart.

As of 5 p.m. Friday (Oct. 11) night, the evacuation order was lifted for all homes south of the 118 freeway. Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officials arranged escorts into Saturday morning, allowing people to briefly re-enter their homes to grab important items. 

LAPD Chief Michel Moore highly discouraged any resident from staying in an evacuation zone, saying, “If individuals refuse to leave, they'll be admonished, we'll body-worn camera record them, we will get their next of kin and their information, and they'll be left there over our objections.”

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and county Board of Supervisors chair Janice Hahn signed local emergency declarations Friday. Late Friday afternoon, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for Los Angeles and Riverside counties. The declarations free up local and state resources to aid in the firefighting effort.

LOCATIONS OF EVACUATION CENTERS: Sylmar Recreation Center, 13109 Borden Ave.; Mason Recreation Center, 10500 Mason Ave. in Chatsworth; Granada Hills Recreation Center, 16730 Chatsworth St.; Northridge Recreation Center, 18300 Lemarsh St., Lanark Recreation Center, 21816 Lanark St. in Canoga Park; Balboa Sports Complex, 17015 Burbank Blvd., Encino; Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks Recreation Center, 14201 Huston St.; and Branford Recreation Center, 13306 Branford St., Arleta. Large animals can be taken to the Hansen Dam Recreation Area at 11770 Foothill Blvd. in Lake View Terrace. Pierce College is NO LONGER accepting large animals.