Brush Fire in Castaic Prompts Freeway Closure, Evacuations

A fast-moving fire has scorched more than 250 acres of brush today near the Golden State (5) Freeway north of Santa Clarita, prompting authorities to close a southbound lane and evacuate nearby homes as a precaution.

The fire was reported near Castaic Road about 1:30 p.m., according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Originally reported as a roughly quarter-acre blaze, the fire quickly grew to more than 40 acres within 30 minutes before exploding across 250 acres.

"[The fire] is burning right up against the 5," fire Inspector Keith Mora said.

Ridge Route Road was closed at Pine Crest Place, north of Lake Hughes Road. U.S. Forest Service crews were also sent to help battle the blaze, which was burning in medium to thick brush, fire officials said.

Mora said structures were threatened, and two ranch homes were being evacuated around 3 p.m.

According to the Sheriff's Department, nearly two dozen homes were being evacuated on Elk Ridge Road and Vista Point Place, just west of Castaic Lagoon.

The flames were initially bearing down on the campus of Northlake Hills Elementary School on Ridge Route Road north of Pine Crest. Students were placed on lockdown, but were systematically released beginning around 2:30 p.m.

"Sheriff's officials are taking kids in their cars and escorting them down the road to a meet their families in a more secure location," Mora said.

No injuries were reported.

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