I-5 Freeway re-opens after brush fire shuts down north lanes Friday

A brush fire near Castaic grew to more than 150 acres and forced the closure of the northbound 5 Freeway on Friday afternoon.
A brush fire near Castaic grew to more than 150 acres and forced the closure of the northbound 5 Freeway on Friday afternoon. NBC LA

Firefighters assigned to a brush fire north of Santa Clarita had the blaze about 60 percent contained, and traffic on Interstate 5 was flowing at normal speeds today.

Fire engines today blocked the left lane of the four-lane northbound freeway, on the steep upgrade north of Castaic. But traffic was moving at normal speeds in both directions, according to traffic monitoring cameras.

No flames were visible late last night and firefighters were in "mop-up mode,'' Nathan Judy of the Forest Service said.

The fire was reported on the west side of the freeway about 1 p.m. Friday and had burned about 500 acres by about 11:30 p.m. Friday, according to Los Angeles County firefighters and National Forest Service spokesman.

How the fire started, if known, was not publicly released today.

No evacuations were ordered, and no injuries were reported. About 250 firefighters were assigned to the job.

The northbound interstate lanes were closed at Lake Hughes Road as a precaution Friday afternoon, causing a monumental traffic jam on freeway section that is always congested on getaway days, as thousands head to mountain recreation areas. In the Newhall Pass, traffic stacked up on the ramp to Highway 14, as motorists detoured via Lancaster and Tehachapi.

Northbound Interstate 5 reopened at about 8:30 p.m. Friday, according to the CHP.

The fire burned west of the freeway in the "crossover" section, where northbound traffic lanes are to the left of the southbound roadway for several miles. That put the fire trucks in the left lane, as the battled the hillside fire on the freeway's western edge.

This story has been updated.

With contributions by Paige Osburn

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