Los Angeles

Wildfire Scorches 800 Acres North of Los Angeles

Some 300 firefighters responded, including some brought in by boat

Firefighters worked Monday to clear vegetation around a brush fire that has scorched about 800 acres near Lake Castaic in the Angeles National Forest.

About 450 firefighters supplied by the U.S. Forest Service and Los Angeles County Fire Department were on the scene, according to the U.S. Forest Service. 

The fire was 78 percent contained as of Monday around 8 p.m. 

The fire's estimated time of full containment is about 6 p.m. Friday, but little to no growth was expected, according to the USFS.

A firefighter suffered a minor injury battling the blaze and was taken to an area hospital, said U.S. Service Forest spokesman Nathan Judy, adding that the upper northeastern portion of the lake has been closed.

The fire broke out Saturday afternoon in an area with difficult access near the Golden State (5) Freeway and Ridge Route Road, Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Ron Singleton told City News Service. It started on a bank of Castaic Lake, and the cause is under investigation.

Two outbuildings were destroyed, Judy said. There have been no evacuations and no road closures.

Castaic Lake is 45 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles.

CAL FIRE, the state agency responsible for fire protection, reported more than 1,870 fires in California from Jan. 1 through Sunday. Those fires scorched more than 19,300 acres. During that same period last year, CAL FIRE reported 1,548 fires that burned 8,684 acres -- more than doubling 2017's acreage figure.

A report released June 1 provided a wildfire outlook for the hot, dry summer months in California. The National Interagency Fire Center report wildfire risk will be high in inland Southern California in July and in parts of Northern California during August and September. The state is coming off one of its wettest winters in years, which left hillsides covered in grass and other vegetation.

That grass will dry out this summer and turn into tinder, providing fuel for rapidly spreading fires often pushed by strong winds. The report noted what could be a delayed start to the wildfire season in some locations.

An increase in the number of dead and dying trees also can exacerbate the wildfire threat, CAL FIRE officials said. An estimated 102 million trees have died in California due to the state's five-year dry spell and bark beetle infestation.

The agency has been urging residents to take prevention steps now, such as maintaining 100 feet of defensible space around homes and other structures. Defensible space provides a natural buffer between buildings and grass, trees, bushes, shrubs and other vegetation that can burn.

NBC4's Willian Avila and Joe Studley contributed to this report.

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