Route Fire burns hundreds of acres alongside Interstate 5 in California, resulting in multiple road closures

·3 min read
Route Fire burns hundreds of acres alongside Interstate 5 in California, resulting in multiple road closures
In this aerial photo released by the Los Angeles County Fire Department Air Operations traffic passes the Route fire, a brush wildfire off Interstate 5 north of Castaic, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021.
In this aerial photo released by the Los Angeles County Fire Department Air Operations traffic passes the Route fire, a brush wildfire off Interstate 5 north of Castaic, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. Los Angeles County Fire Air Operations via AP
  • Road closures on Interstate 5 remain in place near Templin Highway in California.

  • Crews from the Angeles National Forest and the Los Angeles County Fire Department are working on suppressing the fire.

  • The cause of the fire is currently unknown.

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Late Saturday afternoon, the Route Fire began burning around 4 p.m. on both the eastern and western sides of Interstate 5 near Templin Highway in California, resulting in several road closures.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department tweeted that the interstate was closed in both directions and the fire had reached 400 acres by 7 p.m.

Nearby structures faced potential damage and destruction from the fire

A vehicle passes by the burning Route fire, a brush wildfire off Interstate 5 north of Castaic, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021.
A vehicle passes by the burning Route fire, a brush wildfire off Interstate 5 north of Castaic, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. The wildfire near Castaic Saturday has led to the closure of a part of the major freeway in Southern California, officials told local media. AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

Late Saturday evening, CalTrans tweeted that two lanes reopened in each direction on Interstate 5, but motorists were still advised to avoid the area.

"Fire crews will continue to work on the #RouteFire throughout the night, but the structure threat appears to be mitigated at this time. Road closures continue to remain in effect," the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station tweeted around 8:30 p.m.

California firefighters use an array of tools during wildfire suppression efforts

The Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACFD) fought the Route Fire with several tools, including bulldozers, which remove flammable brush, grass, and trees directly alongside burning fires to stop their spread, TIME reported.

Other tools used during fire suppression operations include wildland fire engines, helicopters, and planes, according to the Department of Interior.

By Saturday night, the Route Fire burned several hundred acres

Around 11 p.m., the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station tweeted that the fire had burned nearly 400 acres and was 0% contained. Because of the conditions, two lanes in either direction on Interstate 5 were opened while the remaining two lanes were closed to allow for fire department activity.

Crews continued to work on fire suppression throughout the night.

Firefighters made an 'aggressive initial attack' during overnight suppression efforts

The Los Angeles County Fire Department shared on Instagram Sunday morning that the Route Fire had grown to 454 acres and remained 0% contained.

"The firefighters that made an aggressive initial attack to contain this fire yesterday afternoon worked tirelessly overnight in the air and on the ground. Proud of these men and woman and appreciate their hard danger work!" Robert Garcia, fire chief of the Angeles National Forest, tweeted early Sunday morning.

National Weather Service: Elevated fire conditions will continue through Monday

The Angeles National Forest shared a video update on Twitter of crews' suppression efforts where the Route Fire operations chief, who was unnamed, said that the northwest section of the fire would be their priority on Sunday.

Elevated fire weather conditions will continue through Monday across valleys, mountains, and deserts due to very warm and dry conditions, with locally gusty onshore winds, according to the National Weather Service Los Angeles.

By Sunday afternoon, crews had suppressed more than half of the Route Fire

At 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, the Angeles National Forest tweeted that the fire was 63% contained and had grown to 462 acres.

According to CalTrans, right lanes of Interstate 5 in both directions remain closed for fire crews near Templin Highway.

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