Crews Make Progress Surrounding Massive Brush Fire in Gorman Area

Photo: Cal Fire


GORMAN (CNS) - Milder winds were expected to aid firefighters battling the 15,611-acre Post Fire in the Gorman area north of Los Angeles, though higher temperatures and continued low humidity were expected Tuesday.

Containment of the fire grew from 20% to 24% overnight, and winds were expected to gradually decrease Tuesday to 25-45 mph, after reaching as high as 60 mph late Monday along the Interstate 5 corridor.

A red flag warning along the freeway corridor issued by the National Weather Service will remain in place until 6 p.m. Tuesday. A similar warning is in effect in the western San Gabriel Mountains and the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway corridor.

The fire, which broke out Saturday, prompted the evacuation of about 1,200 people from the Hungry Valley State Vehicular Recreation Area. Wind continued pushing the flames south toward Pyramid Lake, which was also closed, and street closures were in place south of Ralphs Ranch Road at Quail Lake Road.

Official said important structures such as power lines, dams and oil pipelines were at risk.

An evacuation warning was in place for areas of south of Pyramid Lake between Old Ridge Route and the Los Angeles County line, including Paradise Ranch Estates.

One commercial property was destroyed, while 10 were threatened, along with 50 single-family residences, fire officials said.

The blaze is being battled by a unified command that includes the U.S. Forest Service, Angeles National Forest, the Los Angeles County Fire Department and Ventura County Fire Department. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, California State Park Services, Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management, Cal Fire and California Highway Patrol were also providing support.

Cal Fire was officially reporting one injury from the fire as of Monday night, although no details were released.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a wildfire smoke advisory for the Santa Clarita and Castaic areas, with northwesterly winds expected to push smoke from the fire southeast toward Santa Clarita, the San Fernando Valley and parts of the Angeles National Forest.

The SCAQMD advised people in the area to limit their exposure by remaining indoors with windows and doors closed or by seeking immediate shelter, avoid vigorous physical activity and to run their air conditioners or air purifiers.

"It's best to avoid using swamp coolers or whole house fans that bring in outside air," the agency said. ``Residents should also avoid burning wood in their fireplaces or firepits. And, if they absolutely must be outside, a properly fit N95 mask or P100 respirator may provide some protection.

The Post Fire started at about 1:45 p.m. Saturday at Ralph's Ranch and Gorman School roads, near the Golden State (5) Freeway, Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesman Craig Little told City News Service.

It was initially reported as a 500-acre brush fire but quickly grew to 2,000 acres by 4:45 p.m. and then 4,400 acres by 7:15 p.m. By midnight Saturday, it reached 10,504 acres.

The cause of the fire was under investigation. California Highway Patrol Officer D.C. Williams told KTLA5 that the fire ignited and burned vehicles in a McDonald's parking lot and several at a nearby auto body shop. He added that wind gusts were causing the fire to repeatedly change directions.

Officials were urging residents to remain vigilant and be prepared to evacuate if more evacuation orders are issued.

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