California: Marek fire update, October 13

Update @ 11:55 p.m. Monday

There has been no recent update on acreage. Local residents can get information about fire-related traffic, evacuations, and shelters by calling a recording provided by the LA Fire Department at 800-439-2909. A Newhall pass weather station at 10:35 p.m. showed SSW winds at 6 mph with gusts up to 22. The RH was 17%. The Santa Ana winds are expected to increase tonight between 11 p.m. and 11 a.m.

Update @ 4:50 p.m. PT Monday

At a news conference that is just now concluding, officials announced:

  • The winds tonight will have gusts exceeding 60 mph.
  • Tonight’s operational period will be very challenging.
  • The fire has now burned 4,726 acres.
  • They repeated the possibility that the fire could burn west to the 101 freeway, or even cross it and burn all the way the Pacific Ocean.

Update @ 4:00 p.m. PT Monday

The fire has now burned 4,000 4,726 acres. The Santa Ana winds, which have decreased a bit today, will be their strongest between 11 p.m. tonight and 11 p.m. tomorrow (Tuesday). Information about evacuations can be found at the LA County FD web site.

Update @ 1:38 p.m. PT Monday

Here is a map showing the approximate location of the Marek fire as of 9:45 a.m. Monday… provided by LA County Fire Department.

View Larger Map

Update @ 1:11 p.m. PT

LA Fire Department has a map of the areas that are being evacuated.

Update @ 12:07 p.m. PT

The one person known to be killed on the Marek fire was a homeless, transient, male who was living in a cardboard shelter.

Update @ 11:58 a.m. PT

In a news conference the Mayor of Los Angeles just announced there has been one fatality “on the city side” of the fire, which is on both LA city and County jurisdictions. It occurred on or near Foothill Blvd., but the identity of the male victim has not been released.


8:30 a.m. PT

In the evening on Sunday the Santa Ana winds had decreased on this fire that is also known as the Little Tujunga fire. The firefighters had made good progress and had even stopped the spread at around 2,200 acres, but as predicted, the winds increased overnight, causing the fire to spot over the shaky fire lines at 4:30 Monday morning pushing the fire toward the west across the 210 freeway, causing the closure of the 210 and the 118 highways as well as other primary roads. HERE is information about road closures. Many schools in the area are closed as well. Large areas are under mandatory evacuation orders. KTLA has a list of evacuation centers, as well as freeway and school closures.

The latest size given by the public information officers is 3,200 3,500 acres with 5% containment, but it is probably larger, since the fire is spreading rapidly. Numerous large structures and large trucks have been destroyed in industrial complexes, ignited by spotting and 200-foot flames. Some subdivisions of homes surrounded on one or two sides by brush are immediately threatened by fire that is within a few hundred feet. There are 60 strike teams of engines on scene or ordered, with 200 engines working the fire this morning.

Aircraft have been working the fire since 5 a.m. this morning, but the air tankers had to be grounded at around 8:30 a.m. due to the strong winds. The helicopters are still dropping water, trying to limit the number of structures that are destroyed.

On live aerial video provided by Los Angeles TV stations we have seen individual mobile homes in the middle of large mobile home parks burning, the result of long-distance spotting. In another mobile home park, the Valley Terrace park, we counted at least 25 mobile homes that had burned.

The Santa Ana winds are expected to continue through at least Tuesday with red flag warning in effect for much of southern California. Wind gusts have been reported at up to 75 mph in one of the mountain passes.

Opliger’s Type 1 Incident Management Team, which was already prepositioned, will inbrief at 1400 and will assume command at 1800 today. Dietrich’s Type 1 Team is staged and standing by at the Ontario Fire Cache.

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