“By far it appear to be the largest fire of the 2009 fire season,” said Troy Waskey, fire information officer at the Station fire interagency command center.
More crews were expected to move into the fire area, where an array of water-dropping aircraft, including eight air tankers and seven “helitankers,” were assaulting the flames slow-moving flames.
Five Tujunga residents were trapped by the blaze Monday afternoon after ignoring evacuation orders, authorities said.
Emergency responders attempted to rescue the group, but the conditions became too dangerous to continue, Waskey said.
“It’s now to the point where they can no longer be safely rescued, so they have no choice at this time but to ride out the fire,” he said.
Firefighters were able to cut out dry vegetation and hold a fire line across the base of the Foothills to keep flames away from homes, although the blaze has destroyed a total of 21 structures so far, officials said.
Firefighters planned a controlled burn stretching from Briggs Terrace to Deukmejian Wilderness Park in an attempt to cut down on the supply of dry brush fueling the fire’s progress in the communities along the Foothill (210) Freeway, authorities said.
Crews have maintained a buffer of at least 1 mile between all La Crescenta and La Cañada Flintridge homes, although they were not able to stop some flames in Acton, where three homes were destroyed Monday, authorities said.
“It certainly hasn’t gotten any closer and actually we’re seeing some successful firing operations taking pace north of La Cañada courtesy of the Glendale fire crews,” Waskey said.
The fire began at about 3:20 p.m. Wednesday and was just 30 acres by Thursday morning but rapidly expanded to 5,100 acres Friday and raged to 85,000 acres by Sunday night.