SANTA CLARITA (CBSLA) — A number of residents in Santa Clarita who were evacuated due to the Tick Fire were set to return to their homes Friday evening.
At least six structures were destroyed, seven more were damaged and another 10,000 more were threatened in the fire — which has burned 4,005 acres and was said to be 10% contained.
Evacuation orders were lifted Friday night for residents living between Whites Canyon Road and Sierra Highway — south of Plum Canyon and north of Soledad Canyon Road — along with those living southwest of Sierra Highway at Linda Vista.
"I want to shower so bad," Kat Schmidt, an evacuee who was able to go home Friday night, said. "I want to sleep. I want to be with my animals."
Schmidt was one of the lucky thousands able to head home after leaving her home and helping her sister do the same as flames raged behind their homes on the hillside.
Those who live in the area east of Sand Canyon — south of Sierra Highway to Soledad Canyon — were still under mandatory evacuation as of Friday night.
"Two days now," Valencia Dupre, an evacuee who was spending another night at an evacuation center, said. "Two very long, sad, disappointing days."
With every new announcement of lifted evacuation orders, residents hoped to hear their streets called out, but thousands were still unable to return home.
"At times I feel optimistic, and at times not so much," Dupre said. "It seems like a long time not knowing. That's the most challenging part."
Evacuation centers were still open at College of the Canyons in Valencia, 26455 Rockwell Canyon Road, and West Ranch High School, 26255 Valencia Blvd. as roughly 20,000 were still under mandatory evacuations.
At approximately 9:30 p.m., Caltrans officials began reopening the southbound lanes of the 14 Freeway from Escondido Canyon Road to the Santa Clarita Valley. The HOV and two left lanes were reopened. According to Caltrans, the right lane and shoulder from Agua Dulce Canyon Road to Sand Canyon Road were expected to remain closed until Saturday afternoon for guardrail repair.
The southbound Soledad Canyon Road and Sand Canyon Road off-ramps were also closed. All northbound lanes and ramps were fully opened.
The fire initially broke out at about 1:24 p.m. Thursday near the 31600 block of Tick Canyon Road. Initially reported at 200 acres, the blaze rapidly grew to more than 850 acres in less than an hour, fire officials said. No injuries have been reported, but earlier Friday Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for the area.
As of Friday night, 1,325 firefighters remained on scene and continued to perform spot checks throughout the burned areas to prevent any chance of rekindling with a possible change in the weather.
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