Fast-burning fire prompts evacuations, highway closure near Gorman

A fast-moving wildfire along Interstate 5 near Grapevine has grown to more than 3,600 acres, forcing evacuations of Gorman, the Hungry Valley State Vehicular Recreation Area and areas near Pyramid Lake.

Interstate 5 was closed at Quail Lake and Gorman Post Road Saturday evening, leaving traffic backed up — some accidents believed to have been caused by drivers stopping to photograph the flames.

The fire, dubbed Post Fire, started around 2 p.m. Saturday and quickly grew from 500 acres, threatening structures south and west of Interstate 5. Los County Fire crews Angeles quickly responded, launching aerial assaults with air tankers and air tankers. dropping helicopters to try to contain the perimeter.

Firefighters face challenging conditions: The National Weather Service forecasts increasing winds Saturday evening, with ridgetop gusts expected to reach 60 mph.

The fire started as a brush fire south of Ralphs Ranch Road and reportedly crossed the road, burning down an auto repair shop. Social media feeds captured an exodus of RVs, followed by ATVs, from area campgrounds crowded with groups celebrating Father's Day weekend.

On Saturday evening, thick plumes of smoke hung over the highway. As wildfires burned south toward Pyramid Lake, authorities reported 0% containment Saturday evening.

The fire broke out even as experts struggled to assess the potential severity of this year's fire season. A wet winter has nurtured a potentially heavy load of thick grasses, which dry out as temperatures rise. A wind-driven wildfire burned more than 14,000 acres in San Joaquin County, south of Tracy, earlier this month.

Los Angeles County Fire crews are battling the Post Fire, just a day after one colleague was killed and another injured while responding to a quarry fire in the Antelope Valley.

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