Castaic, California — California highway officials reopened nearly all lanes on Southern California highways Sunday after firefighters made progress extinguishing wildfires.
Saturday afternoon saw a fire break out near Castaic, in northern Los Angeles County. Wind speeds of 10-15 mph drove the fire to spread over half a mile, swallowing dry bushes and crossing busy highways.
California Highway Patrol closed down an interstate highway section for several hours after aerial tankers spray bright orange flame retardant onto the flames.
Andrew Mitchell, spokesperson for Los Angeles National Forest said that two firefighters were treated at the hospital after they suffered burns.
Mitchell explained that, despite the mountains, the fire was still not under control. However, firefighters made great progress overnight thanks to the Water Drop plane and aggressive ground attacks.
He indicated that the staff would take advantage of the start of cooling trends to construct isolation lines.
Investigators are currently investigating the cause of the fire.
Residents of Northern California’s mountain town, Grizzly Flat, were allowed to return to their homes on Sunday to assess the damage caused by the Kaldor fire south-east of Lake Tahoe. Grizzly Flat’s houses, along with the school, post office and church, were all destroyed by the fire within the first few days. Evacuation orders for houses along Interstate 50 were cancelled as the wildfire control rate rose to 65%.
Firefighters switched from fighting fires to fighting lightning strikes at night when thunderstorms struck the state on Thursday night and Friday.
Officials from the Fire Department stated that light rain was brought by thunderstorms and helped to calm the drought-stricken north.
The Dixie Fire saw rainfall of 0.5 inches. The fire began in mid-July, and has since burned large areas in the Sierra Nevada and southern Cascades. Officials from the fire department stated that the rain is rapidly drying and that the vegetation is becoming more flammable.
California’s second-largest wildfire has been set on 1,500 acres and destroyed over 1,300 houses. It is composed of 65%.