Whit Johnson, Sue Monroe
A nearly 600-acre brush fire that prompted evacuations for 19 homes was lifted as the blaze headed toward Castaic Lake Friday. Northlake Hills Elementary was on lockdown when the flames came near the school. Whit Johnson reports from Castaic for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on May 17, 2013.
Firefighters on Friday were battling a 575-acre blaze that scorched hillsides in Castaic, prompting evacuations, backing up traffic for miles on the 5 Freeway and forcing the temporary lockdown of an elementary school.
Nineteen homes in the area were evacuated just after 3 p.m., but that order was lifted about two hours later, according to Los Angeles County Fire Department officials. The houses affected were on Elk Ridge Road and Vista Point Place, the department tweeted.
The fire was reported at 1:30 p.m. off the southbound side of the 5 Freeway north of Lake Hughes Road. It was initially burning on Ridge Route Road, fire officials said.
The blaze was burning north-northwest at 4:30 p.m. toward Castaic Lake, which was expected to act as a natural firebreak for firefighters. Fire officials at one point had said 600 acres had burned.
The blaze was 60 percent contained as of about 7:30 p.m., according to a county fire tweet.
Deputies were in the area in case the fire moves toward a community to the south and southeast. No on had been injured as of just before 5 p.m.
Northlake Hills Elementary School was briefly locked down as precaution as flames came to within 100 yards of the campus. Aerial video later showed children getting into cars as school got out for the day.
One lane of the 5 Freeway was shut down to traffic, which was backed up for miles.
Water-dropping planes and helicopters were sent in to help douse the flames from above.
Fire trucks were deployed to protect structures, and about 115 firefighters were on scene.
View Castaic Fire May 17, 2013 in a larger map