Evacuations lifted as firefighters contain Saddleridge blaze

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The Saddleridge Fire in the northern San Fernando Valley was 45 percent contained this morning, despite growing to 8,000 acres. Firefighters have taken advantage of lower wind speeds and increasing humidity to combat the blaze, which has destroyed 17 structures and damaged another 77 since breaking out Thursday.

According to the Los Angeles Fire Department, all evacuation orders have been lifted for the area as of 7:00 a.m. Tuesday. Despite this, officials said a section of the Angeles National Forest has remained closed due to the fire, with more information available at https://go.usa.gov/xVzN5.

All Los Angeles Unified School District schools previously closed by the fire resumed regular classes Monday morning, though outdoor activities may be limited during the week to restrict smoke exposure.

Cal State Northridge also resumed full operations and class schedules, as did the Los Angeles Mission, Pierce and Valley colleges of the Los Angeles Community College District.

The fire was first reported just after 9 p.m. Thursday off the westbound Foothill (210) Freeway near Yarnell Street and Saddle Ridge Road in Sylmar, and quickly spread due to wind-blown embers that jumped the Golden State (5) Freeway about 11:20 p.m., spreading the flames into Granada Hills and Porter Ranch.

The cause of the fire remained undetermined, but the place of origin was identified by LAFD arson investigators as a 50-foot-by-70-foot area beneath a high voltage transmission tower, officials said.

“There is no evidence of a homeless encampment in the immediate area,” department spokesman Nicholas Prange said. “In addition to LAFD personnel, there are investigators from Southern California Edison and private insurance companies at the site.

“Investigators continue to work around the clock in steep terrain, thoroughly examining all aspects of the scene in an attempt to determine a cause.”

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Monday that Edison filed a notice with the California Public Utilities Commission, notifying the agency that it suffered an electrical malfunction that may be linked to the fire.

The newspaper reported that the notice was similar to one filed last year by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. after the Camp Fire broke out in Butte County. PG&E equipment was later blamed for sparking the fire.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who cut short a trip to Copenhagen, Denmark due to the fire, and county Board of Supervisors chair Janice Hahn both signed local emergency declarations.

Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for Los Angeles and Riverside counties. The declarations free up local and state resources to aid in the firefighting effort.

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