Several lanes of the 14 freeway are closed today as a result of a fire that was discovered on a large rig. The incident is being investigated by the California Highway Patrol. The air quality is expected to remain Moderate.
Big rig caught on fire
Earlier today, firefighters rushed to the scene of a big rig on fire on the 14 Freeway. The truck exploded into flames as it hit a set of spike strips on the freeway. The resulting smoke brought traffic to a crawl. Several firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze in 20 minutes.
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) ruled the two lanes of northbound 14 Freeway in Santa Clarita off the road for the next three hours. A trucker who was involved in the crash was taken to a local hospital with critical injuries.
Several fire trucks and law enforcement vehicles were on hand at the scene. The big rig’s front left driver’s side was on fire and the front passenger’s tire had punctured. A hazmat team was also dispatched to the scene. The vehicle’s engine was said to have been knocked out of the car by the crash, according to CBS Colorado.
The big rig on fire was not the only blaze to hit the highway this week. Another truck stuck on a bridge in the town of Temecula also caught fire. Both vehicles were removed by midday Thursday.
Air quality not expected to degrade beyond Moderate
Thankfully, air quality is not expected to degrade significantly in the coming days. Nevertheless, one might have to be on the lookout if he or she plans on doing a spot of shopping, or errand sleuthing. That said, the best bet is to stay indoors. There are a number of ways to do so, including making a beeline for the mall. As far as air quality goes, the EPA has been pretty spot on about the last few years. For a list of air quality hot spots, check out the EPA’s website. You might also want to check out the following link for a nifty list of local fire stations, along with other information on what to do if you are caught in the dark. It is also a good idea to check out the city’s traffic conditions before you go rogue. Luckily, the EPA has a mobile app that provides real time traffic reports. This will help you stay on track, and perhaps, avoid the aforementioned thugs.
Lanes remain closed
Several lane closures are still underway in the area of the Route Fire in the Castaic and Newhall area. The fire has already burned over 5,200 acres and is still threatening 500 homes. The Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management posted information on the fire’s evacuations.
A SigAlert was issued for the northbound 14 Freeway, but no timetable was available for its full re-opening. The Los Angeles County Fire Department is working with the Angeles National Forest to help battle the fire. The fire was reported just after 10:30 p.m. on Newhall Avenue, and firefighters made progress against the fire.
The fire damaged retaining walls, signposts, and other infrastructure. Wooden lagging has fallen off the walls and warped steel columns. The fire has destroyed two structures and has led to heat-related firefighter injuries.
Two northbound lanes of Interstate 5 near Castaic will be closed for an undetermined amount of time. The California Highway Patrol has increased patrols in the area to help ensure traffic flow is not disrupted.
Traffic updates in Southern California
Several roads were closed and emergency responders rushed to the scene of a fire on the 14 Freeway in Santa Clarita Monday afternoon. At first the fire was contained to a single vehicle on the on-ramp of the freeway. However, the fire spread quickly and within an hour, authorities said it had reached 60 acres. By 4 p.m., the fire had spread to nearby brush. The California Highway Patrol said it was investigating the cause of the fire.
At least eight firefighters suffered heat-related injuries in the incident. Emergency responders and aircraft attacked the fire with water and flame retardant. In the meantime, firefighters were attempting to put out hot spots in the wreckage.
According to a statement from the LA County Fire Department, the “heat dome” that is currently arriving in California is expected to increase the likelihood of wildfires and heat-related emergencies. They added that “the extreme heat will likely dry out already-parched vegetation and accelerate the spread of the fires.”
The Route Fire, which was first reported Wednesday, has burned more than 5,200 acres. The LA County Office of Emergency Management said that two evacuation centers were opened by the evening.
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