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Observer Staff Writer 

Sand Fire: LA County State of Emergency, 25% Containment

Most Evacuations lifted Monday Evening


Eric Bradley @EricBradleyPT

"Looked out of the window in Long Beach and there is the #SandFire"

- 7 PM 7/26 Return Home for Many Evacuees

- Cloud Caused by Controlled Burn

- FEMA provides Fire Management Assistance Grant

- Wildfire Regions are No-Fly Zones for Drones

- Donations can go to the Red Cross or your Local Fire Station

- Donations Also Needed for the Care of Hundreds of Animals

- LA County Declares Local State of Emergency

- Acting Governor Tom Torlakson declares LA County State of Emergency

On Monday afternoon, a huge cloud of smoke from the Sand Fire was seen across Southern California. Many residents feared that this signaled yet another major advance for the wild blaze that has roared northeast of Los Angeles for three days.

Twitter's #SandFire was filled with photos of the column, some taken from as far away as Long Beach.

By Monday evening the fire at reach an estimated 35,155 acres (142.27 km2). According to the U.S. Forest Service, 3,379 firefighters were assigned to the fire which had prompted the evacuation of at least 10,000 homes. Officials announced that at 7 p.m. most residents would be allowed to return home, with the exception of residents living on Placerita Canyon Road and Tujunga Canyon Road

A pyrocumulus cloud, formed by smoke particles, can create it's own localized weather behavior. It causes unpredictable ground level winds, but it can also draw in humidity and cause rainfall, helping to control the burn. Occasionally, it can produce dry lightening.

There was a collective sigh of relief across the region when firefighting organizations later announced that the smoke had come as the result of a controlled burn designed to halt the forward movement of the flames.

Satellite images have indicated that the fire was burning outward in a ring, with the central area left scorched but no longer very active. It now looks as if the fire is being intentionally split in two along a north-south axis.

This could leave two more manageable fires, and may explain why most evacuations have been lifted, despite repeated reports that the flame is still only 10% contained. If the fire can be directed away from structures, then more effort can go toward actually extinguishing it, instead of deploying units just to protect homes.

FEMA will be assisting the fight with a Fire Management Assistance Grant, which is meant to help prevent wildfires from becoming major disasters. The grant can be used for personnel & staffing; equipment & supplies; meals, health & safety items; pre-positioning resources; and emergency work. According to the FEMA website "These grants can be approved in a matter of hours and go to directly help the firefighters."


The firefighters at Sand Fire have been hindered at times by the irresponsible flying of drones over the fire. When drones are in the area, the planes and helicopters that carry water or flame retardant must be grounded in order to avoid collisions. The FAA has declared the Sand Fire region as a temporary no-fly zone for drones. Flying a drone in the area is a crime.

The government site InciWeb has posted the following message for Evacuees:

At 7:00 pm, ALL residents in ALL evacuated areas will be allowed to return home, with the EXCEPTION of those located on Placerita Canyon Road from Running Horse Lane to Pacy Street, and Little Tujunga Canyon Road from the Wildlife Way Station to Sand Canyon Road & Placerita Canyon Road. These two areas will remain closed. Large animals will be able to return as well.

The areas to be re-populated will be open to RESIDENTS ONLY. All residents entering the area will need to provide identification.

We recognize that there will be many trying to return home at the same time. We thank you in advance for your patience. If you do not need to return home immediately after this re-population begins, we encourage you to avoid longer delays by waiting until later in the evening.

Thank you for cooperating with our evacuations; public safety is always our priority.


Donations of drink and snacks cannot be given directly to the firefighters. Their immediate needs are met by a preplanned delivery system already in place. Donations for evacuees can be given to the Red Cross, who will also have information on helping those who lost their homes in the blaze.

Nearly 800 animals are currently in the care of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care. Blankets, towels, water and feed buckets are needed. Donations are being collected in conjunction with the Red Cross. Horse items can be dropped off at Antelope Valley Fairgrounds and Hansen Dam. The dog rescue New Leash on Life has 19 dogs at Hart High School. They need toys, blankets, towels, and dishes that connect to the side of a wire crate.


Designated VCA Animal Hospitals are offering free boarding to those affected by Sand Fire.

Our thoughts are with all who have been affected by the #SandFire. To help those in need, we're now offering free boarding to those who have been impacted by the fires. Please feel free to give us a call or stop in for more information to any of these participating hospitals:

VCA Adler Animal Hospital and Pet Resort

16911 Roscoe Blvd.

North Hills, CA 91343


VCA McClave Animal Hospital

6950 Reseda Boulevard

Reseda, CA 91335

(818) 881-5102

VCA Parkwood Animal Hospital

6330 Fallbrook Ave

Woodland Hills, CA 91367

(818) 884-5506

VCA Animal Hospital (Burbank)

2723 West Olive Avenue

Burbank, CA 91505

(818) 845-7246

VCA Westlake Village Animal Hospital

Fax: 805-497-4884

31166 Via Colinas

Westlake Village, CA 91362

(805) 497-4900

The fire appears to be growing outward, but with a dead zone in the middle.

VCA Arden Animal Hospital

407 Arden Ave.

Glendale, CA 91203

(818) 246-2478

VCA A Breed Apart Animal Hospital

777 S Arroyo Pkwy #106

Pasadena, CA 91105

(626) 795-4444


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