Over 33,000 acres of southern California have burned thus far in the Sand Fire, but one slow and steady tortoise escaped the flames.
Almost 3,000 firefighters are fighting back the blaze, which was only 10 percent contained as of Monday. The hefty 75-pound tortoise was found moseying along the road in Santa Clarita when Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control scooped him up and away from danger according to local ABC 7 News. He was taken to the Castaic Animal Care Center, where he can be claimed if someone is looking for him.
Of three evacuation centers taking in large animals, one has reached capacity, while the Pierce College and Antelope Valley Fairgrounds locations were still accepting them, as of the last Los Angeles Fire Department update late on Monday morning.
Mandatory evacuations were issued in several areas as the fire has advanced. Those evacuations cover 10,000 homes and 20,000 residents, according to the LACFD online updates. 200 Commercial buildings were threatened as of the last update, and one fatality had been reported.
18 homes have succumbed to the flames in Bear Divide and Sand Canyon, while “228 horses, 52 goats, 29 chickens, seven rabbits, five cats and two dogs” have been rescued in the Castaic area according to ABC 7.
A drone was seen flying above flames, according to U.S. Forest Service information reported in the Los Angeles Times. Drones block firefighting efforts, as aircraft used to fight the fire are grounded for half an hour. Fire officials have greatly emphasized the importance of not flying drones over fires, and those who do so could face serious fines and/or criminal charges.
More information on evacuations and road closures can be found on the Los Angeles County Fire Department incident page for the Sand Fire. The fire was initially reported at NB 14 FWY at Sand Canyon, Santa Clarita.
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