Firefighters in Castaic, California, make progress in putting out the Route Fire despite the intense heat.
Firefighters battling the Route fire in Castaic, which has charred more than 5,000 acres of wildland in northern Los Angeles County, appeared to have the upper hand Thursday despite trying circumstances, including temperatures that climbed above 110 degrees.
The 5,208-acre fire had 27% of its area under control by late Thursday, according to officials. By late morning, the early-ordered evacuations that had been put in place because of the fire had been lifted, allowing locals to gradually repopulate the region.
Many firemen experienced heat-related injuries on Wednesday as a result of the protracted heat wave that hit Southern California earlier this week. So, fire managers for a short period of time on Thursday shifted crews away from the front lines during the dangerous conditions on the ground in an unusual preventative measure.
This week’s extended heat wave in Southern California caused many firemen to experience heat-related ailments on Wednesday. Fire officials ordered firefighters away from the front lines during the hottest portion of the day on Thursday in an unusual precautionary measure made due to the dangerous conditions on the ground, and instead mostly relied on air support to attack the flames.
Since no fresh firefighter injuries were reported on Thursday, it appears that strategy was successful.
The 5 Freeway had to be shut down in both directions after the Route fire was discovered at noon on Wednesday near Lake Hughes Road. Later, a portion of the freeway was reopened.
One of California’s principal north-south thoroughfares, the heavily frequented route was congested by the smoke from the fire.
Sara Herrera, a resident of Bakersfield, told CBS Los Angeles that she was in Southern California on Thursday to pick up her mother following an early flight into LAX.
She claimed that as of the afternoon, they were still unable to pass through the congested northbound 5 Road around Castaic and even took the decision to exit the freeway to prevent their car from overheating.
Officials recommend residents limit exposure to the smoke by remaining indoors with windows and doors closed or by seeking shelter away from areas affected by the fire, and avoiding vigorous physical activity.