‘Powerhouse Fire’ Burns 2,500 Acres Near Santa Clarita

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Flames burn along Francisquito Canyon Road. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times /May 30, 2013)

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (KTLA) — Hundreds of firefighters continued to battle a brush fire on Friday in the Angeles National Forest just north of Santa Clarita.

The blaze, dubbed the Powerhouse Fire, has burned more than 2,500 acres was 15 percent contained Friday evening, officials said.

At least one structure, believed to be a utility building, has been destroyed.

On Friday afternoon, Camp Mendenhall Probation Camp and areas north of South Portal Road and west of San Francisquito Canyon were evacuated due to the fire.

The fire broke out shortly before 4 p.m. on Thursday near a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power facility in Francisquito Canyon, near Drinkwater Reservoir.

A DWP power plant operator first noticed the fire and alerted the L.A. County Fire Department, DWP officials said.

The flames spread quickly, fueled by strong winds and soaring temperatures.

About 550 to 600 firefighters were fighting the blaze, aided by air tankers and helicopters.

The winds had died down by Thursday night, but firefighters remained concerned about the heat, with temperatures in the 90s expected on Friday and Saturday.

Authorities were forced to evacuate hundreds of residents on Thursday as the fire burned close to homes and threatened high-voltage power lines.

Some 200 people were evacuated in the Green Valley area between San Francisquito Canyon Road and Bouquet Reservoir.

A Red Cross evacuation center was set up at Marie Kerr Park, located at 39700 30th St. West in Palmdale.

They were allowed to return to their homes as of 10 p.m. on Thursday, sheriff’s officials said.

San Francisquito Canyon Road remained under a hard closure. Bouquet Canyon Road and Elisabeth Lake Road were under soft closures and open to residents only.

The flames also burned next to electrical towers. Some of the lines supply Los Angeles, DWP officials said.

Power was re-routed away from the threatened lines and no outages were reported, according to the DWP. The agency was closely monitoring the situation.

Rescue helicopters on Thursday were searching for nine hikers believed to be in the area of the fire, according to the L.A. County Fire Department.

By 9 p.m., all of the hikers were accounted for and were not in danger, fire officials said.

No injuries to firefighters or civilians have been reported. The cause of the fire remained under investigation.

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