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Santa Clarita Fire Scorches 5,000 Acres; Simi Valley Schools To Remain Closed Wednesday

SANTA CLARITA (CBSLA) — Evacuation orders were lifted for the Westridge Community near the Rye Fire in Santa Clarita Tuesday as firefighters continued to fight the blaze that had scorched 5,000 acres and was only 5 percent contained.

A wind-fueled brush fire prompted roughly 5,000 evacuations and the closure of a section of the 5 Freeway and state Route 126 as a precaution.

The Rye Fire was reported about 9:35 a.m. near the 2500 block of Rye Canyon Loop, near highway 126, also known as Newhall Ranch Road, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. About 250 firefighters were working to extinguish the fire, which was burning in light to medium fuels amid gusting Santa Ana winds.

The 5 Freeway was temporarily closed in both directions near SR 126. However, it reopened just after 2 p.m.

Rye Canyon Loop was also closed, along with SR 126 from Copperhill Drive to the 5 Freeway.

Several hot spots near SR 126 remained burning, and authorities told residents of nearby Simi Valley to be ready to evacuate their homes at a moment's notice.

Simi Valley schools will be closed Wednesday as a precautionary measure, the school district tweeted Tuesday night.

Evacuations were ordered along Rye Canyon Loop and Kelly Johnson Parkway. Authorities also evacuated the Valencia Travel Village RV park in the 27900 block of Henry Mayo Drive in Castaic. A mandatory evacuation order was issued for the Westridge housing community. An evacuation center was established at Valencia High School.

About 1,300 homes were evacuated in the Westridge community, along with the Rancho Pico, West Ranch and Oak Hills communities.

"Everything's in the car that counts," a Santa Clarita man told CBS2 News. Despite the evacuation order, he was waiting outside for the freeways to open up again. "The freeways are all shut down, so you can't get out of here at all. So it's pretty crazy.

Students at Rancho Pico Junior High School, West Ranch High School and Oak Hills Elementary School in the Westridge area were bused to College of the Canyons, Santa Clarita city officials said. College of the Canyons canceled classes at both of its campuses Tuesday night.

Power was interrupted to about 2,090 customers in the Santa Clarita area, according to Southern California Edison. Due to the outages, some 9-1-1 calls to the sheriff's Santa Clarita station were being re-routed, the sheriff's department reported.

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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