Firefighters Clamp Down on Blazes During Extreme Fire Hazard

Fire agencies were busy on Saturday as several brush fires broke out across Southern California

Firefighters clamped down on small brush fires that broke out on Saturday during a weekend when high winds and dry brush fueled fears of large-scale wildfires in Southern California.

Crews quickly contained a brush fire that shut down the Golden State (5) Freeway as grass and brush caught fire next to the maze of freeway ramps in the Newhall Pass.

Wind gusts near the fire reached 65 mph shortly after the blaze ignited, forcing the closure of the critical Southern California freeway junction at the north end of Los Angeles and sending three fire agencies scrambling.

Helicopters, bulldozers and ground crews were rushed to the hillside north of the junction of the 5 and Antelope Valley (14) freeways at 1:20 p.m. Within 30 minutes, the fire had jumped to the west side of the 5.

Superscooper planes were used to put out those flames.

All traffic on the 5 and 14 freeways was blocked, cinching the only direct route between LA and northern destinations.

Elsewhere, firefighters battled a small brush fire on the south side of the Ventura (134) Freeway just east of the Glendale (2) Freeway near Eagle Rock.

Traffic on the transition roads from the 2 to the eastbound 134 was blocked.

In Woodland Hills, firefighters put out a vegetation fire that extended into the back patio of a home, a fire official said.

Firefighters were dispatched at 11:45 a.m. to 5124 Allentown Place, in the hills above Ventura Boulevard and west of Encino.

They found a grass fire threatening to ignite a eucalyptus grove, said Brian Humphrey of the Los
Angeles Fire Department.

Backed by at least one helicopter, they had the fire out within 19 minutes of their arrival.

Although the fire extended into the back patio of a home, there were no reports of any injuries. There were no evacuations and it was not immediately known how many acres burned, Humphrey said.

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