A fast-moving brush fire erupted near a huge amusement and water park in Southern California on Sunday, sending hundreds of visitors to the exit to escape clouds of smoke and ash before fire officials asked them to stay put while they worked to contain the blaze.

Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor announced the evacuation shortly after noon, citing concern for the safety of park visitors and employees. About a half-hour later, the park said on its Twitter account that fire officials asked guests to shelter in place due to nearby road closures.

Park visitors were asked to move to the back of the 260-acre (105-hectare) property, away from firefighting activity near the entrance, said Rachel Gallat, who was visiting a friend who works at the park.

This photo provided by Ryan Reede shows smoke from a fast-moving brush fire that Reede took as he was riding on a roller coaster at Six Flags in Valencia, north of Los Angeles. The brush fire erupted near the huge amusement and water park in Southern California on Sunday, sending hundreds of visitors to the exit to escape clouds of smoke and ash before fire officials asked them to stay put while they worked to contain the blaze. (Ryan Reede via AP)
This photo provided by Ryan Reede shows smoke from a fast-moving brush fire that Reede took as he was riding on a roller coaster at Six Flags in Valencia, north of Los Angeles. The brush fire erupted near the huge amusement and water park in Southern California on Sunday, sending hundreds of visitors to the exit to escape clouds of smoke and ash before fire officials asked them to stay put while they worked to contain the blaze. (Ryan Reede via AP)

“I was getting iced coffee and when I walked outside, ash was raining down on me,” Gallat said. “There was a big cloud of smoke. I saw people around me panicking; they didn’t know where they were supposed to go.”

A Los Angeles County Fire Department dispatcher told the Los Angeles Times the park voluntarily evacuated visitors.

“We did not tell them to do this,” Melanie Flores said.

In this Sunday, June 9, 2019, photo provided by Joel Cannon, heavy smoke from a fast-moving brush fire surrounds Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (Joel Cannon via AP)
In this Sunday, June 9, 2019, photo provided by Joel Cannon, heavy smoke from a fast-moving brush fire surrounds Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (Joel Cannon via AP)

Los Angeles County fire officials said nine people were taken to the hospital due to smoke exposure.

Shalane Gonzales, 34, said she saw people running out of the park in bathing suits.

“It was pretty scary. We saw trucks packing people,” Gonzales said. “They were just telling people to load up on their truck beds.”

In this photo provided by Arthur Wilkie, people evacuate Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor, Sunday, June 9, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif., north of Los Angeles, as smoke from a fast-moving brush fire surrounded the area. (Arthur Wilkie via AP)
In this photo provided by Arthur Wilkie, people evacuate Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor, Sunday, June 9, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif., north of Los Angeles, as smoke from a fast-moving brush fire surrounded the area. (Arthur Wilkie via AP)

She said when she tried to drive to the entrance to pick up her partner and their two young sons, police told her to return to the parking lot.

“The fire was feet away from where we were,” she said.

The park later announced it was closed for the day after police reopened the roads, allowing everyone to leave in their cars.

In this photo provided by Arthur Wilkie, people evacuate Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor, Sunday, June 9, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif., north of Los Angeles, as smoke from a fast-moving brush fire surrounded the area. (Arthur Wilkie via AP)
In this photo provided by Arthur Wilkie, people evacuate Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor, Sunday, June 9, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif., north of Los Angeles, as smoke from a fast-moving brush fire surrounded the area. (Arthur Wilkie via AP)

Magic Mountain is located north of Los Angeles and its twisting roller coasters are a familiar sight to motorists on Interstate 5.

Firefighters battled the 40-acre (16-hectare) blaze in hot, dry and windy conditions during the first day of a heat wave baking the region in nearly 100-degree (37.8-Celsius) heat.

The National Weather Service said temperatures reached 96 degrees (35.6 Celsius) at Magic Mountain, with humidity dipping to 10% and winds gusting to 25 mph (40 kph).

Los Angeles County firemen fight a brush fire burning close to Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor amusement park in Santa Clarita, Calif., Sunday, June 9, 2019. Heavy smoke surrounding Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor prompted the park to announce an evacuation shortly after noon Sunday north of Los Angeles. But about 40 minutes later, the park said on its Twitter account that fire officials asked guests to stay at the park while they work to contain the blaze. Police closed access roads to the park off Interstate 5. (AP Photo/Rick McClure)
Los Angeles County firemen fight a brush fire burning close to Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor amusement park in Santa Clarita, Calif., Sunday, June 9, 2019. Heavy smoke surrounding Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor prompted the park to announce an evacuation shortly after noon Sunday north of Los Angeles. But about 40 minutes later, the park said on its Twitter account that fire officials asked guests to stay at the park while they work to contain the blaze. Police closed access roads to the park off Interstate 5. (AP Photo/Rick McClure)

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

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Los Angeles County firemen fight a brush fire burning close to Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor amusement park in Santa Clarita, Calif., Sunday, June 9, 2019. Heavy smoke surrounding Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor prompted the park to announce an evacuation shortly after noon Sunday north of Los Angeles. But about 40 minutes later, the park said on its Twitter account that fire officials asked guests to stay at the park while they work to contain the blaze. Police closed access roads to the park off Interstate 5. (AP Photo/Rick McClure)
Los Angeles County firemen fight a brush fire burning close to Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor amusement park in Santa Clarita, Calif., Sunday, June 9, 2019. Heavy smoke surrounding Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor prompted the park to announce an evacuation shortly after noon Sunday north of Los Angeles. But about 40 minutes later, the park said on its Twitter account that fire officials asked guests to stay at the park while they work to contain the blaze. Police closed access roads to the park off Interstate 5. (AP Photo/Rick McClure)
Los Angeles County Fire helicopter drops water on brush fire burning close to Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor amusement park in Santa Clarita, Calif., Sunday, June 9, 2019. Heavy smoke surrounding Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor prompted the park to announce an evacuation shortly after noon Sunday north of Los Angeles. But about 40 minutes later, the park said on its Twitter account that fire officials asked guests to stay at the park while they work to contain the blaze. Police closed access roads to the park off Interstate 5. (AP Photo/Rick McClure)
Los Angeles County Fire helicopter drops water on brush fire burning close to Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor amusement park in Santa Clarita, Calif., Sunday, June 9, 2019. Heavy smoke surrounding Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor prompted the park to announce an evacuation shortly after noon Sunday north of Los Angeles. But about 40 minutes later, the park said on its Twitter account that fire officials asked guests to stay at the park while they work to contain the blaze. Police closed access roads to the park off Interstate 5. (AP Photo/Rick McClure)