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1,000 evacuated as wildfires rage on in California

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. -- Authorities now say a wildfire that forced 1,000 people out of their homes north of Los Angeles has burned 200 acres and damaged a garage.

About 500 homes, including an entire mobile home park, have been evacuated in the Newhall area of Santa Clarita. Also, about 30 horses are at an evacuation center.

The fire, which began Wednesday afternoon, was about 25 percent contained after surging very close to homes near Interstate 5.

Los Angeles County Fire Deputy Chief John Tripp told CBS Los Angeles people who live in the area should be ready to move at a moment's notice.

"They need to have their ready, set, go plan right now," Tripp said.

An evacuation center for residents was set up at West Ranch High School. An animal evacuation center was set up at Hart Park.

Officials shut down the northbound 5 Freeway near Gavin Canyon, with traffic diverted to the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway. The California Highway Patrol later shut down all southbound lanes.

Four water-dropping helicopters and 450 firefighters were on scene.

Wind gusts and heavy brush created enormous walls of flame and embers sparked spot fires, but crews later were able to make progress in efforts to surround the blaze..

About 450 firefighters from the city, county and U.S. Forest Service were on scene as aircraft dumped thousands of gallons of water.

A firefighter and a jail inmate helping battle the fire were slightly injured. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

"We've got five investigators at the point of origin right now," Tripp said. "We're going to try to do our best to determine what the cause was."

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