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Wildfire forces closure of freeway in Southern California


CASTIAC: A forest fire near Castaic on Saturday has caused the closure of a major highway in Southeastern Californiaofficials told local media.
The fire, known as the Route Fire, reached 392 acres, or just over half a square mile, at 6.28 p.m. and forced the closure of Interstate 5, Angeles National Forest told KTLA-TV.
KTLA reported that Route Fire is threatening structures, according to the Los angeles county Santa Clarita Valley Station Sheriff’s Department.
The fire was not contained at 6.30 pm, authorities said.
Elsewhere in California, thunderstorms that dropped light rain gave a respite to crews struggling to put out the state’s massive wildfires, but the lightning sparked several new fires in the drought-stricken north, fire officials said. .
The storms that lasted from Thursday night through Friday were followed by weekend forecasts of clear weather and a warming trend in fire areas into next week.
the National Metereological Service said there were more than 1,100 cloud-to-ground lightning strikes in California between Thursday night and Friday morning. Firefighters said the lightning started at least 17 fires.
Firefighters were diverted from the massive Caldor fire south of Lake Tahoe to fight multiple lightning fires overnight throughout El Dorado County, fire officials said. However, most of the flames stayed below 10 acres (4 hectares).
Three new fires were reported in Sequoia and Kings canyon national parks in steep and dense forested areas of the Sierra Nevada.
Up to half an inch of rain fell on parts of the Dixie Fire, which began in mid-July and has washed away huge swaths of the northern Sierra Nevada and southern Waterfalls. The second largest fire in California history has burned 1,490 square miles (3,859 square kilometers) of land and more than 1,300 homes and other buildings. It was 59% contained.
The rain will wet the vegetation and dry the tinder and cool the fire for a day or two, which firefighters hoped to use to strengthen and expand fire lines in an effort to finally surround the fire, fire officials said.

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