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Post Fire holds at 15,000 acres near Gorman, as containment increases

Post Fire near Gorman being swells to more than 15,600 acres and is just 20% contained
Post Fire near Gorman being swells to more than 15,600 acres and is just 20% contained 02:57

Firefighters continue to gain control of the massive Post Fire near Gorman in northwestern Los Angeles County. The blaze is holding at 15,690 acres and is 90% contained as of Monday. 

Dubbed the Post Fire, the blaze was first reported a little after 1:45 p.m. Saturday near Gorman School Road and Ralph's Ranch Road close to the southbound I-5 Freeway, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. It is the area's first major wildfire of the year.  

Strong winds fueled the brushfire that prompted evacuations near Gorman, in northwestern Los Angeles County. The blaze exploded to more than 15,000 acres Sunday. Several days later, on Friday, Cal Fire officials said some evacuation orders have been lifted or reduced.

When it first started on June 15, the fire grew at an alarming rate, jumping to 2,000 acres by 4:45 p.m. and doubling to 4,400 by 7:15 p.m., and to over 12,000 acres by the following morning. Winds pushed it into Hungry Valley Park as it spread, growing to 15,690 total acres burnt two days after it first broke out.

Smoke from the massive fire rising into the air as SkyCal looks over the Post Fire, burning near the 5 Freeway in Gorman. KCAL News

"The wind has been a major factor along with the dry fuels along with the terrain," said Craig Little with the L.A. County Fire Department. "That's all a recipe for a very quickly moving flame."

According to the Associated Press, Kenichi Haskett, a section chief for the L.A. County Fire Department, pointed out that firefighters were working in sweltering conditions and steep terrain as the unpredictable winds blew embers ahead of the flames. He also said the gusts were hindering airdrops of water and fire retardant. 

Earlier on, more than 1,200 people had been evacuated at Hungry Valley State Vehicular Recreation Area. But on Friday, Cal Fire officials said many evacuation orders had been removed or reduced due to improving conditions. 

A searchable map with the latest on evacuation orders can be found here.

Meanwhile, Pyramid Lake was still closed because of the wildfire.

Late Sunday, California Highway Patrol officials closed southbound lanes near Gorman because of a different grass fire that sparked in the area. It has since reopened. 

Before jumping two roads in the Gorman area, the fire burned through the yard of an auto shop where it torched as many as 20 cars. 

Firefighters worked to construct perimeter fire lines earlier in the battle against the blaze while aircraft worked to stop forward progress with limited visibility. Little said there was a combined effort by fire agencies including Los Angeles County Fire, Ventura, Kern County, Angeles National Forest and Cal-Fire and that there were in excess of 1,100 firefighters working on the fire. 

Some of the charred remains of vehicles left behind by the Post Fire on Saturday. KCAL News

Gusts were expected to reach as high as 60 mph later Sunday, prompting a Red Flag Warning that was extended through Tuesday evening.  

"The question is when you have winds that high, as far as water-dropping is concerned, that's probably not going to be effective. It is going to atomize," Little said.

On Wednesday, crews were working to extend and reinforce their control lines to protect infrastructure and natural resources. Officials said protection is ongoing around Pyramid Lake, including Pyramid Lake Dam and support facilities, as well as Southern California Edison electrical 500KV transmission lines.

Three minor injuries have been reported to two adults and one child by firefighters, but the nature of those injuries remains unclear.

Video from the scene showed several vehicles that had been ravaged by flames outside of an auto shop and a McDonald's in the area. People living nearby in Canyon Country region took cell phone video of the heavy smoke lingering over their homes late Saturday evening as the fire continued to rage. 

Air quality alert issued for areas surrounding Post Fire 02:30

Hours after the wildfire started, in the evening of June 15, the South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a smoke advisory for the Santa Clarita and Castaic areas because of the unhealthy quality of air caused by the fire. The smoke from the fire had been expected to be pushed towards the area by winds. 

A red flag warning for critical fire conditions expired Tuesday evening, with forecasters saying winds had fallen below advisory levels. "Conditions will improve over the area Wednesday as winds decrease and minimum humidities trend higher with the return of onshore flow," according to the National Weather Service.

More information on the Post Fire is available on the CalFire website

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