(SANTA CLARITA, Calif.) — A burned body was found Saturday at the scene of a raging wildfire in Santa Clarita, California, north of Los Angeles, that has spread to 20,000 acres and forced the evacuation of 1,500 homes, officials said.
The body was discovered outside a home on Iron Canyon Road in Santa Clarita, and detectives are trying to determine whether the person was killed by the blaze or another cause, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Rob Hahnlein told the AP. The home also may have burned, he said.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department confirmed to ABC that homicide detectives responded to that address to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of a man. The investigation is ongoing.
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The so-called Sand Fire broke was first reported Friday afternoon along the northbound side of the 14 Freeway near Sand Canyon Road. The fast-moving brush fire grew to thousands of acres overnight and this morning was spreading toward the Angeles National Forest and away from the more heavily populated areas of Santa Clarita, which is home to around 180,000 residents.
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Nighttime images and videos of the Santa Clarita hillsides showed long glowing lines along the ridges, topped by soaring flames and swaths of smoke. Pictures from this morning showed plumes of smoke still billowing into the air. Containment remained at 0 percent Saturday morning but changed to 10 percent by the afternoon, and remained at 10 percent as it spread later in the day, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
The blaze prompted mandatory evacuations in the area, including one that is still in effect for about 300 people and 100 homes in the Little Tujunga Canyon area. Some evacuation orders for other areas were lifted by Saturday morning, according to ABC station KABC-TV in Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department and the U.S. Forest Service are in “unified command,” utilizing helicopters and bulldozers to fight the blaze. One firefighter has suffered a minor injury and no structures have been destroyed so far, officials said.
A thousand homes and about 100 commercial buildings remain threatened, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
Officials said an evacuation center has been set up at Golden Valley High School, while Wayside Jack Bones Equestrian Center is receiving large animals along with Hansen Dam Equestrian Center.
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