The Rye Fire, which destroyed at least six structures, damaged three more and consumed 6,049 acres near Santa Clarita was fully contained on Wednesday, Dec. 12.
However, the firestorm raging through miles of terrain and neighborhoods throughout Southern California has left many families without homes during this Christmas holiday.
Authorities reminded residents that the Disaster Distress Helpline, a 24-hour national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for those affected by the fires, is accessible at (800) 985-5990.
The Rye fire broke out at 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 5, near the 2500 block of Rye Canyon Loop.
The fire prompted the evacuation of about 5,000 people from about 1,300 homes and the closure of sections of the Golden State (5) Freeway and state Route 126.
Driven by gusty Santa Ana winds, the fire at one point threatened 5,460 structures and caused burn injuries to a firefighter, authorities said. The firefighter, possibly an inmate, was airlifted to a burn center for treatment.
All evacuations and road closures issued as a result of the fire have been lifted, and the College of the Canyons evacuation site has been deactivated, officials said.
The fire’s size originally was estimated at about 7,000 acres, but was downsized to 6,049 acres after precision mapping was conducted, Cal Fire reported.
Authorities neared full containment on Wednesday, Dec. 12, of the week-old Skirball Fire, which was determined to have been caused by “an illegal cooking fire” at a homeless encampment in a brush area next to where Sepulveda Boulevard crosses under the San Diego (405) Freeway.
The fire scorched 422 acres since it broke out shortly before 5 a.m. on Dec. 6, the Los Angeles Fire Department reported. No one was at the scene of the fire’s origin when firefighters arrived, and no one has been arrested.
The flames destroyed six homes and damaged 12 others, and at one time prompted the evacuation of about 700 homes and an apartment building in the Bel-Air area.
“It’s distressing and it makes a tragic event even more tragic. We’ve been trying to keep homeless encampments out of the hillsides, particularly during this period, because we knew we had the worst conditions that were the most supportive of wildfires that we have had in decades, with very low humidity and very high winds,” L.A. City Councilman Paul Koretz said.
“We were not aware that there was this encampment there. If we were, we would have been encouraging them to move,” he said. “But what makes this even more tragic is the tragedy of homelessness, and the fact that we’ve got tens of thousands of people living on the streets and it means things like this will happen until we get more of a handle on the problem.”
The fire was kept on the east side of the 405 Freeway.
The Getty Center and the nearby Skirball Center, both on the west side of the freeway, closed in the immediate aftermath of the fire but re-opened Friday, and classes at UCLA, Cal State Northridge, Los Angeles Valley College and Santa Monica College also resumed.