World Events

Brush fire threatening homes near Santa Clarita amid red-flag conditions

A brush fire ignited Monday afternoon above Santa Clarita, enveloping 200 acres within minutes as it burned with “a rapid rate of speed,” fire authorities said. It comes amid heightened fire danger in Southern California with rising temperatures and strengthening winds.

The blaze, which has been dubbed the Martindale Fire, broke out just after 3 p.m., burning a 10-acre area about 15 miles northeast of Santa Clarita, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Within about 20 minutes, it had spread to 200 acres. The fire is moving south, buffeted by “gusty winds,” the Angeles National Forest Service said.

Carrie Lujan, a spokeswoman for the city of Santa Clarita, said an area extending five miles south of Bouquet Reservoir is being evacuated, although it is unclear how many homes are within that area. The Los Angeles County Fire Department said some structures are threatened by flames.

The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for the Los Angeles and Ventura county mountains and the Santa Clarita Valley, noting the conditions could last for several days.

The warning includes the potential for “rapid fire growth and extreme fire behavior if ignition occurs” as well as the threat of smoke plumes and heat-related illnesses.

But it’s the combination of variables that is the greatest concern as a new heat wave bears down on the region: The forecast calls for gusty Santa Ana winds up to 40 mph, humidity levels in the teens and single digits, and temperatures in the valleys as high as 100 degrees by Wednesday and in the 90s in some coastal areas.

A heat advisory will be in effect from 10 a.m. Tuesday to 8 p.m. Thursday throughout much of the region, and the National Weather Service is urging residents to take extra precautions when spending time outside.

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