October 13, 2008

Los Angeles Wildfire Closes Freeway

A busy Los Angeles freeway was closed and 1,200 residents were evacuated Monday as firefighters battled a wildfire in the San Fernando Valley, officials said.

No injuries had been reported in the Angeles National Forest foothills blaze, but about 450 homes in the city's Lopez and Kagel canyons were considered threatened by the "Marek fire," the Los Angeles Times reported.

Smoke from the fire forced the closure of the 210 Freeway near San Fernando during Monday morning's rush hour. One house, three motor homes, a garage and a shed had been destroyed by the blaze, which was 20 percent contained Sunday night.

Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Frank Garrido said at least 3,200 acres had been burned after flames, whipped by intense Santa Ana winds, jumped a fire line about 4:30 a.m. Monday, the Times reported.

Garrido said the fire was moving in southwesterly toward homes and major freeways northwest of Lake View Terrace.

"It's a blow torch right now," he told the newspaper. "If you are ahead of the fire, get your valuables and get out of the way."