Tuesday, February 25

Uncontained blaze threatens San Fernando Valley, UCLA campus mostly unaffected

The Saddleridge fire began in Sylmar, California, late Thursday night but spread to the Porter Ranch area. Both cities have mandatory evacuation orders in certain areas. (Jintak Han/Daily Bruin senior staff)

A growing fire is threatening the San Fernando Valley around 15 miles from campus.

The Saddleridge fire, which has burned more than 4,700 acres, started in Sylmar late Thursday night and spread to the Porter Ranch area, according to the most recent Los Angeles Fire Department alerts. The fire is 0% contained and over 1000 firefighters are working to stem the blaze, according to the alert.

The wildfire prompted a BruinAlert to be issued earlier this morning, but currently the fire does not pose a serious risk to the UCLA campus. Smoke is also not expected to impact the campus at this time, said Administrative Vice Chancellor Michael Beck in an email statement.

A 10:30 a.m. BruinAlert update said air quality on campus remains moderate. According to the AirNow website, run by the Environmental Protection Agency, the air quality index in Westwood is 65.

Commuters to campus may be affected as there are major highway closures for Interstate 5, Interstate 405, Interstate 210 and California State Route 14, Beck said.

At least 25 structures have been destroyed, including homes and commercial buildings, and about 12,700 homes are in mandatory evacuation areas, according to the LAFD alert.

UCLA Health closed its Porter Ranch location in response to the fire, redirecting scheduled patients to other locations. All other UCLA Health locations remain open, according to a UCLA Health news release.

There are mandatory evacuations zones north of the 118 Freeway in Porter Ranch and north of the 210 Freeway for the Oak Ridge Estates. There is also an evacuation zone north of Sesnon Boulevard and west of Balboa Boulevard in the area between Porter Ranch and Sylmar, according to LAFD map.

Only two injuries have been reported so far. One civilian suffered a heart attack and later died at the hospital and one firefighter suffered a minor eye injury, according to the alert.

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