A car crash sparked a fire in Santa Clarita that quickly spread to 750 acres Sunday afternoon and triggered mandatory evacuations in some neighborhoods, authorities said.
The blaze broke out about 1 p.m. near the intersection of the 14 Freeway and Placerita Canyon Road when a motorist drove her car into a tree and started a fire, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
The fast-moving fire jumped the freeway, destroyed a building and a bridge in the Disney Ranch area and sent a towering plume of gray smoke into the air that was visible for miles. About 76 homes in the Disney Ranch area lost power Sunday afternoon.
The driver of the vehicle involved in the crash was transported to a local hospital with minor injuries, said Joey Marrone, a spokesman with the fire department.
A firefighter who injured himself battling the blaze was also hospitalized, Marrone said.
An NBC Los Angeles news van driven by a photographer reporting on the blaze caught fire suddenly while the photographer was outside. The photographer was unharmed, and the news station issued a statement saying the fire in the van was unrelated to the Placerita fire.
Authorities issued mandatory evacuation orders for all residents of Tenderfoot Trail Road and Running Horse Road. Authorities asked residents of Placerita Canyon Road, Lost Canyon Road Via Princessa Cardinal Drive, Winter Pine Way, Ravenglen Road, Pineview Road and Cambria Street to voluntarily evacuate.
The 14 Freeway was closed on both sides, creating long traffic pileups in both directions and forcing Kuree Little, 8, of Palmdale, to miss her golf tournament.
The Little family left their home in Palmdale at 1 p.m. and were quickly mired in standstill traffic with flames blazing on either side of the 14 Freeway near Golden Valley Road. The family decided to turn around and rest at an In N Out restaurant in Santa Clarita.
“We were stuck for almost two hours,” said Kuree’s father Jeff Little.
Rudy Montanez, 61, missed a friend’s 85th birthday party in Northridge, as well as the mariachi band slated to play there.
He was stuck on the free way for two hours with his wife and three hungry grandchildren — but it wasn’t as bad as bad as last year, when brush fire-relatedroad closures stranded them on a freeway for six hours.
“It’s not as scary as last time,” said Montanez’s granddaughter Cherish.
Gamal Habib, 63, was caught in the same jam. He made a u-turn on the 14 Freeway and drove in the opposite direction to escape, he said.
“They didn’t do a good job of signaling that they had closed an entrance,” Habib said.
More than 400 firefighters, including four helicopter crews and 2 air tankers were battling the blaze Sunday evening. The fire is 50 percent contained, said Cpt. Keith Mora, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
Most of the flames have died down and crews were mainly stamping out hotspots by Saturday evening. Firefighters will work overnight to walk the perimeter of the fire and ensure no flames remain, Mora said.
“We feel real confident with it now,” Mora said.
Santa Clarita on Sunday was experiencing dry conditions and temperatures of up to 109 degrees, said Todd Hall, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.
Slightly cooler temperatures and wetter conditions are expected on Monday, Hall said.
“It’s entirely possible it could be much warmer than that,” Hall said.
Another fire broke out Sunday afternoon near the intersection of the 170 Freeway and Victory Boulevard in North Hollywood, Humphrey said.
It’s possible that someone in a nearby homeless encampment in the area could have caused the fire, Humphrey said.. No structures or people were harmed, but authorities briefly closed a ramp leading to the 170 Freeway.
This post will be updated with more information as it becomes available.
5:55 p.m.: This story was updated with new information about the size of the fire, information about a burning news van and more details from the scene.
4:45 p.m.: This story was updated with new information about weather conditions.
4:28 p.m.: This story was updated with new information from the scene.
4:00 p.m.: This story was updated new information from fire officials.
This article was originally posted at 3:25 p.m.