Freeway reopens; human remains found in fire area
CANYON COUNTRY (CNS) — All but one lane of the Antelope Valley Freeway was reopened Saturday and more mandatory evacuations were lifted as crews battled the fire burning in Canyon Country and Santa Clarita which was 25% contained after scorching 4,615 acres, authorities said.
Three lanes of the southbound Antelope Valley Freeway, including the carpool lane, reopened at 10:30 p.m. Friday. The right lane and shoulder remained closed from Escondido to Soledad canyons, the California Highway Patrol said. The Soledad Canyon Road and Sand Canyon Road offramps will remain closed until further notice, Caltrans said.
The northbound Antelope Valley Freeway, which had been closed between Golden Valley Road and Agua Dulce, was reopened about 4 p.m. Friday. The freeway was closed early Friday morning when flames jumped the roadway.
Residents were urged to avoid Bouquet Canyon Road because sheriff’s deputies and firefighters were using it as a primary staging area.
Evacuation orders affecting tens of thousands of residents were lifted for those living north of Soledad Canyon between Whites Canyon Road and Sierra Highway, and for residents in the Sand Canyon area south of Fire Station 132 from Sand Canyon Road to Placerita Canyon Road, Los Angeles County Fire Department Assistant Chief Vince Pena said at a Friday afternoon news briefing.
As of 2 p.m. evacuation orders were lifted for Saturday, evacuation orders were lifted for Baker Canyon Road from Sierra Highway, north of Vasquez Canyon Road, to where it ends near 15142 Sierra Highway. Earlier in the day evacuation orders were lifted for any area south of Fire Station 132 at 29310 Sand Canyon Road and south of the Sand Canyon off-ramp to Placerita; the area between Whites Canyon Road and Sierra Highway; the area south of Plum Canyon and north of Soledad Road and the areas southwest of Sierra Highway at Linda Vista.
Areas still under mandatory evacuation order were at Tick Canyon Road from Abelia Road to Summit Knoll Road.
About 11:30 a.m., a public works employee “stumbled across” human remains around Sand Canyon Road and Thompson Ranch Drive, said Deputy Morgan Arteaga of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau. Sheriff ’s homicide detectives responded to the scene, she said, but it was unclear whether the remains were related to the Tick fire or predated the blaze.
Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles County Friday in response to the fire, freeing up state resources to assist in the firefighting effort. County Board of Supervisors chair Janice Hahn also issued a local emergency declaration.
Nine structures have been confirmed destroyed and nine more damaged, although fire officials said that the numbers will likely increase following damage assessments.