Burned Body Found as Wildfire Burns Near Los Angeles

Heavy smoke from a wildfire is seen from Golden Valley Road and Five Knolls Drive Santa Clarita, Calif., on Saturday, July 22, 2016. The fire in northern Los Angeles County grew, darkening skies with smoke that spread across the city and suburbs, reducing the sun to an orange disk at times. The South Coast Air Quality Management District warned that at times air would reach unhealthy levels. The fire erupted Friday afternoon in the Sand Canyon area near State Route 14 as the region was gripped by high heat and very low humidity. (Katharine Lotze/The Santa Clarita Valley Signal via AP)
Heavy smoke from a wildfire is seen from Golden Valley Road and Five Knolls Drive, Santa Clarita, Calif., on July 23. (Katharine Lotze/The Santa Clarita Valley Signal via AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A burned body was found Saturday at the scene of a brushfire north of Los Angeles that has scorched 31 square miles and prompted the evacuation of 1,500 homes, authorities 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 said.

The home also may have burned, he said.

The area was one of several neighborhoods ordered evacuated as the fire raged through bone-dry canyons and ranchlands. The fire burned through the area Saturday evening. Firefighters reported that some buildings had been engulfed, but it was not immediately clear whether they were homes, outbuildings or garages, said Nathan Judy, a spokesman for the U.S. Fire Service.

The area was still unsafe because of smoldering debris and trees that might fall because their roots had burned, Judy said.

The fire was only 10 percent contained Saturday night as it burned on the edge of Santa Clarita and into the Angeles National Forest and showed no sign of calming.

More than 900 firefighters and water-dropping helicopters planned to battle the flames overnight, but they could face several fronts.

“It’s not a one-direction type of fire,” Judy said. “It’s going in different directions depending on which way the wind is blowing. It’s doing what it wants.”

About 300 miles up the coast, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection firefighters battled a 10-square-mile blaze in rugged mountains north of the majestic Big Sur region.

The blaze 5 miles south of Garrapata State Park posed a threat to about 1,000 homes and the community of Palo Colorado was ordered evacuated, Cal Fire said.

By evening, people living in the Carmel Highlands north of the fire were told to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice if an evacuation was called.