BREAKING: Saddleridge Wildfire Breaks Out in the San Fernando Valley, Prompting Evacuations

A wildfire broke out late Thursday night in Sylmar, impacting thousands of residents across the San Fernando Valley. At 9:00 p.m., the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) reported that high winds were causing the fire to spread rapidly. Affected areas now include Sylmar, Porter Ranch, and Granada Hills.

As of 8:30 a.m. on Friday morning, approximately 4,700 acres have burned, 25,000 homes have been evacuated, and 100,000 people have been displayed, according to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). Containment is at 0 percent.

Fire department officials estimate that 25 structures have been damaged. One civilian has died due to cardiac arrest, and one firefighter sustained an eye injury. 

Mandatory evacuations are in place in Porter Ranch, north of the 118FY from Reseda to Iverson; Oakridge Estates, north of 210FY; West of Balboa, north of Senson to the Ventura County border with DeSoto as the western border. 

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) reports that the following routes are closed due to the Saddleridge Fire: I-5 from Calgrove Blvd to SR-118. SR-14 from Newhall Avenue to the I-5 Fwy. I-210 from SR-118 to the I-5 Fwy. I-405 from SR-118 to the I-5 Fwy.

Currently, the only open Red Cross evacuation centers for people and small pets are the Northridge Recreation Center (18300 Lemarsh St) and Lanark Recreation Center (21816 Lanark). The Sylmar Recreation Center (13109 Borden Ave.), the Granada Hills Recreation Center (16730 Chatsworth St.), and Mason Park (10500 Mason Ave.) are all full. 

Large animals are being evacuated to Hansen Dam, West Valley Animal Shelter, and Pierce College. Residents who need assistance evacuating large animals have been asked to contact the East Valley Animal Shelter at (818) 756-9323.

According to the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), a large number of schools in the area have been closed. Due to poor air quality, "all schools in Local District Northwest and Northeast will be on a minimum-day schedule," LAUSD said in a statement released on Twitter. 

California State University, Northridge (CSUN) has cancelled all classes and has closed its campus. LA Valley College, Pierce College, and LA Mission College will also be closed today.

Santa Monica College's (SMC) Chief of Police, Johnnie Adams, issued a statement stressing the importance of safety for affected SMC students, faculty, and staff. 

"The College has has not been affected but we realize that many local freeways in that area have been closed. Your safety is our first priority so if you are in an affected area, stay safe and evacuate if ordered to do so," Chief Adams said.

More updates to come.

UPDATE (Friday, Oct. 11): According to the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD), as of 1:00pm on Friday, 7,542 acres have burned and containment is at 13 percent. 

New evacuation centers have been opened at the Brandford Rec Center (13306 Brandford St) and the Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks Rec Center (14201 Huston St.). The Lanark Recreation Center (21816 Lanark St.) remains open as well. 

Mandatory evacuations are for all of Porter Ranch, Oakridge Estates, and the homes of West Balboa, north of Sesnon to the Ventura County border with DeSoto as the western border, according to the Los Angeles Police Departmen (LAPD).

The South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) has issued air quality advisories for the San Fernando Valley, Topanga, Malibu, and Reseda. The South Coast AQMD has warned anyone in the areas impacted by smoke to limit exposure by remaining indoors with windows and doors closed or seeking alternate shelter. 

Six Flag Magic Mountain is closed and will remain closed for the rest of the day. As of now, there are plans for the park to open tomorrow, but park officials have advised to continue checking for updates. 

UPDATE (Friday, Oct. 11): Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed an emergency declaration for the Saddleridge Fire and has directed all Los Angeles city agencies to "take all necessary steps to protect lives and property threatened by the fire." He is calling for County and State partners to assist and collaborate. 

According to a statement released by the California Governor's Office, Governor Newsom has declared a state of emergency for Los Angeles and Riverside counties. He has also secured a Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help ensure all necessary resources are available to combat the Saddleridge Fire.

Mark Ghilarducci, Director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, issued the following statement: “We want to thank the federal government for their swift response to this dynamic incident. California is committed to ensuring all resources are available to suppress this fire and to support the local communities to respond and recover as quickly as possible.”

UPDATE: As of 11:30 am on Saturday, the Saddleridge Fire is at 19 percent containment. Firefighters worked throughout the night, both in ground and air operations to contain the fire. 

Officials have reopened the following locations for repopulation: areas west of Mason Avenue and southwest of Corbin Avenue, smaller areas to the east, and all locations south of the 118 freeway.

LAFD officials included this statement in their latest update: "Until all areas can be repopulated, Los Angeles city residents who remain under mandatory evacuation will have an opportunity to be escorted by LAPD personnel to their homes for a 5 minute period to obtain important documents, medication, small pets, etc. The three locations where residents can obtain these escorts are:

1) The Porter Ranch Town Center at Porter Ranch Drive & Rinaldi Street

2) At the Target store located at northwest corner of Balboa Boulevard & San Fernando Mission Boulevard

3) Sylmar Recreation Center at the intersection of Borden Avenue and Polk Street

Residents will be escorted to their homes and after 5 minutes will be escorted back out of the evacuation area. Residents wishing to be escorted to their homes must have proof of residence."

Currently open evacuation centers are: Lanark Recreation Center (21816 Lanark Street), Northridge Recreation Center (18300 Lemarsh Street), Granada Hills Recreation Center (16730 Chatsworth Street), Mason Park (10,500 Mason Avenue), Branford Rec Center (13306 Branford Street), Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks Rec Center (14201 Huston Street), and Balboa Recreation Center (17015 Burbank Boulevard).