Winds Whip up Wildfire North of Los Angeles

A U.S. forest service firefighter battles towering flames burning along Little Tugunga Road, in the Angeles National Forest, about 20 miles north of downtown Los Angeles on Sunday Oct. 12, 2008. Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesman Ron Haralson says the blaze has charred up to 750 acres in the rugged area of Little Tujunga Canyon. (AP Photo/Mike Meadows)

LOS ANGELES - California highway officials say a 2,000-acre wildfire whipped by intense winds has forced the closure of a major Southern California freeway.

The California Highway Patrol says the Foothill Freeway has been closed Monday morning in both directions between the 118 Freeway and Interstate 5.

Los Angeles County Fire Captain Mark Savage says Santa Ana winds spurred the blaze to jump a fireline early Monday and burn toward the freeway and populated areas, most of which have already been evacuated.

Savage says fire department helicopters took to the air at about 5 a.m. but had to be grounded amid the wild winds.

The blaze 20 miles north of downtown Los Angeles had forced the evacuation of about 1,200 people.