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The Sand Fire Continues To Rage, Doubling In Size Overnight

A view of the smoke from East Hollywood, submitted by LAist reader James Elliot Bailey.
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The massive Sand Fire, which broke out Friday afternoon, has rapidly doubled in size overnight, fire officials said.As of Saturday morning, the fire had taken around 5,500 acres. But throughout the day, aided in part by scorching, dry temperatures, the fire continued to burn out of control, and grew to 11,000 acres by the evening. On Sunday morning fire officials said that the fire grew to more than 22,000 acres overnight, aided in part by high winds that shifted the fire , according to the L.A. Times.

The difficulty in containing the fire—which is currently at 10% containment—is due to a combination of decades without a major fire and the drought, which have left the hillsides and ravines near the Angeles National Forest with an abundance of "extreme dry fuels."

"Five years ago, if we had a similar fire, we would have probably caught [it] at the ridge," said L.A. County Fire Department chief Daryl L. Osby during a news conference.

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The fire has been destructive to more than just acres of brush. According to City News Service, a dead body was found Saturday evening inside a car that had been burned out on Iron Canyon Road. They were pronounced dead at the scene, and investigators learned that the car was found parked in the driveway of a house. Cause of death will be determined by an autopsy, but detectives do not believe there was any foul play.

The fire has so far destroyed 18 homes, and ABC-7 reports it is "threatening" 1,500 more. The areas most threatened are Sand Canyon, Bear Divide and Little Tujunga.

The Wildlife Waystation had to evacuate nearly 400 wild animals yesterday from the sanctuary in Lake View Terrace, as it was threatened by the encroaching fire.

"The flames would twist on themselves," Jess Pelaez told KPCC. "You would hear lions starting to call to each other as the sun was beginning to rise. Then you would hear the chimps shrieking to each other and it just echoed around the canyon. It was completely surreal."

Pelaez said that volunteers showed up to the Waystation to help transport the animals, including several animal trainers who work in the entertainment industry. Lions and tigers were sedated before being put into modified horse trailers.

The Waystation itself was not damaged in the fire. In a Facebook post, "The Waystation has been saved!!! The firefighters worked their butts off to contain the fires burning around the facility!"

TMZ is also reporting that Sable Ranch, the popular Western film set, has been destroyed by the fire.

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Much of central Los Angeles and the Valleys are under an unhealthy air quality alert issued by the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

Evacuation centers are set up at Hart High School in Santa Clarita and the Recreation Center in Lake View Terrace. Large animals can be taken to Hansen Dam in Sylmar or the Jack Bones Equestrian Center in Castaic.

For a full list of road closures related to the fire, go here.