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Sand Fire is officially contained

OW Staff Writer | 8/5/2016, midnight
The Sand Fire was 100 percent contained mid-week. The fire burned 41,432 acres since it broke out July 22 near ...

The Sand Fire was 100 percent contained mid-week.

The fire burned 41,432 acres since it broke out July 22 near Sand Canyon Road along the northbound Antelope Valley (14) Freeway. About 250 firefighters remained on scene on Wednesday, working to mop up and put out hot spots, according to the United States Forest Service (USFS).

The fire destroyed 18 homes, killed a man, and prompted the evacuation of an estimated 20,000 people, all of whom have been allowed to return home, with the last evacuation orders lifted on July 29.

As of 6 p.m. July 31, there were no longer any road closures in effect due to fire activity, the USFS said. However, the Pacific Crest Trail remained closed where it passes through the area closure. All temporary flight restriction in the area have been lifted.

The blaze was fueled by triple-digit temperatures along with gusty winds and vegetation left dry by the region’s five-year drought. Officials said some areas affected had not burned in decades, leaving terrain covered with dry chaparral.

The deceased victim, whose burned body was found July 23 in a car in the driveway of a house in the 26700 block of Iron Canyon Road, was killed after apparently refusing an order to evacuate. The coroner’s office identified him as Robert Bresnick, 67.

Following an autopsy, the cause of death was listed as the “consequences of extensive thermal burns,” and the death was classified as an accident, coroner’s Assistant Chief Ed Winter said.

Bresnick was visiting a friend at the location and had been advised by authorities to leave. The friend left, but Bresnick did not, Winter said.

Along with the 18 homes destroyed, the fire also tore through a western town set on the Sable Ranch, a well-known filming location.

Residents forced from their homes due to the Sand Fire could be eligible for reimbursement of evacuation- and recovery-related costs through their homeowner or renter’s insurance policies, state Department of Insurance officials have announced.

According to the department, insurance policies likely include “additional living expense,” or ALE, coverage, which offers cost-reimbursements even if a home is not damaged by fire or smoke.

The coverage generally includes food and temporary housing, furniture rental, storage and transportation expenses. Policyholders will have to provide documentation, so state officials urge residents to save all bills and receipts associated with the evacuation.

Homeowners and renters are encouraged to contact their insurers to see if they are covered.