Fast-burning fire prompts evacuations, highway closure near Gorman

A fast-moving wildfire that broke out Saturday afternoon along Interstate 5 near Grapevine carved a path south and, by nightfall, was heading toward the town of Castaic. Authorities are monitoring winds in Tejon Pass overnight that threaten to expand the fire’s footprint.

Parallel to I-5, the Post Fire had grown to more than 4,400 acres as of Saturday evening. The fire prompted evacuations of Gorman, the Hungry Valley State Vehicular Recreation Area and Pyramid Lake.

I-5 was briefly closed Saturday at Quail Lake and Gorman Post Road, leaving traffic congested, with some accidents apparently caused by drivers stopping to photograph the flames.

The fire started around 2 p.m. Saturday and quickly grew beyond 500 acres, threatening structures south and west of I-5. Los Angeles County fire crews responded quickly, launching aerial assaults with water tankers and helicopters. The Ventura County Fire Department and U.S. Forest Service are assisting in this effort, working with Los Angeles County crews to construct fire protection lines in hopes of containing the perimeter .

Firefighters face challenging conditions: The National Weather Service forecasts increasing winds Saturday evening, with ridgetop gusts expected to reach 60 mph.

The fire started as a brush fire south of Ralphs Ranch Road and reportedly crossed the road, burning down an auto repair shop. As the fire spread toward Hungry Valley, park officials evacuated 1,200 people from the recreation area and closed access to Pyramid Lake. Social media feeds captured an exodus of RVers, dragging ATVs, from campgrounds crowded with groups celebrating Father’s Day weekend.

On Saturday evening, thick plumes of smoke hung over I-5 and authorities reported 0% containment.

The fire broke out as experts worked to assess the potential severity of this year’s fire season. A wet winter has nurtured a potentially heavy load of thick grasses, which dry out as temperatures rise. A wind-driven wildfire burned more than 14,000 acres in San Joaquin County, south of Tracy, earlier this month.

County fire crews are battling the Post fire just a day after one colleague was killed and another injured while responding to a quarry fire in Antelope Valley.

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