Story Summary

‘Powerhouse’ Fire in the Angeles National Forest

power1The fire has burned nearly 30,000 acres in the Angeles National Forest in Santa Clarita, forcing thousands of people to flee from their homes.

Six homes have been destroyed and at least nine others have been damaged.

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LANCASTER, Calif. (KTLA) — Authorities on Thursday updated the total number of homes destroyed by the Powerhouse Fire to 24, more than double the previous estimate.

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A Lake Hughes resident digs through the rubble where his home once stood.

The homes were were in Lake Hughes, Lake Elizabeth and other nearby communities, Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Anthony Akins said.

Three other homes were damaged, Akins said. In addition, 29 structures were lost and one was damaged.

The new figures came after ground crews were able to explore the burned area more fully on Wednesday, according to Akins.

Some of the additional homes destroyed were believed to be in a canyon near Lake Hughes, he said.

The fire, which began last Thursday near a power station in the Angeles National Forest, has burned 30,274 acres and was 78 percent contained.

Nearly 2,000 personnel continued to battle the blaze.

At one point, thousands of people were under evacuation orders as the flames advanced, fueled by hot temperatures and strong winds.

A shift toward cooler weather and calmer winds helped firefighter make headway against the fire.

Full containment was not expected until around midnight on Monday, officials said. The cause of the fire remained under investigation.

LANCASTER, Calif. (KTLA) — Improved weather conditions continued to help firefighters in their battle against the massive Powerhouse Fire on Wednesday.

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The fire destroyed several homes in the Lake Hughes area.

The blaze has burned 32,032 acres and was 65 percent contained as of Wednesday morning, fire officials said.

A total of six structures have been destroyed and 15 damaged, according to Los Angeles County officials. Some 275 structures were still threatened.

Residents have been allowed back into all of the communities that were affected by the fire, including Lake Hughes, Lake Elizabeth and Green Valley.

The fire broke out last Thursday near a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power facility in Francisquito Canyon, near Drinkwater Reservoir.

The flames spread rapidly, fueled by a combination of high temperatures, fierce winds and dry brush.

After the weekend, cooler weather and calmer winds enabled firefighters to make headway building containment lines.

Fire officials did not expect to have the fire completely contained until next Monday.

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors has ratified a proclamation of a local state of emergency resulting from the fire.

The declaration will waive certain restrictions and enable access to applicable federal, state and local resources and disaster relief assistance, officials said.

LAKE HUGHES, Calif. (KTLA) — All evacuation orders were lifted for communities near the Powerhouse Fire on Tuesday, as firefighters continued to make progress against the massive blaze.

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Lake Hughes resident Nicole Crawford checks on her animals after returning home on Monday.

The fire has scorched 32,032 acres and was 60 percent contained as of Tuesday morning.

Some 3,000 people from about 700 homes had been under evacuation orders in Lake Elizabeth and Lake Hughes.

They were allowed to return home on Monday night.

Pine Canyon and Lake Hughes Road remained under a hard closure, and there was no word on when they would reopen.

The fire has destroyed six homes and damaged nine, but hundreds of others were saved, authorities said.

Approximately 2,000 firefighters were working to expand containment lines, aided by cooler temperatures, higher humidity and calmer winds.

They planned to use 11 helicopters to drop water directly on the flames on Tuesday, according to the L.A. County Fire Department.

Fixed-wing aircraft that drop flame retardant ahead of the fire’s path were on standby, but were not expected to be in the air.

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

It initially threatened Green Valley in San Franciscquito Canyon, then veered west toward Castaic Lake before taking aim at Lake Hughes and Lake Elizabeth.

The flames very nearly overran the two towns, located just west of Palmdale. More recently, the fire moved north into the Lancaster area.

The blaze was fueled by a combination of high temperatures, fierce winds and extremely dry brush, some of which had not burned since 1929, officials said.

Since the weekend, the weather has cooled and winds have weakened, giving firefighters a chance to make some headway.

Full containment of the blaze was not expected until next Monday. The cause of the fire remained under investigation.

The cost of fighting the fire was at more than $7.8 million. The Federal Emergency Management Association was promising to cover 75 percent of the total cost.

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Six homes on Newview Drive in Lake Hughes were destroyed by the Powerhouse fire. (Gina Ferazzi/ Los Angeles Times)

PALMDALE, Calif. (KTLA) — Hundreds of people remain under mandatory evacuation Monday, but thousands of others were allowed to return home as firefighters gained the upper hand on the massive “Powerhouse Fire.”

The blaze had burned 32,008 acres and was 60 percent contained as of 7 p.m., according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

It has destroyed six homes and damaged at least nine others, officials said.

More than 1,200 structures were threatened by the fire.

Around 2,100 firefighters from throughout California were battling the flames, aided by water-dropping aircraft.

Authorities had estimated that they would completely contain the fire by Wednesday, but they pushed that date back until next Monday.

The cost of fighting the fire has already reached $2.7 million, according to officials.

Some 2,800 people from about 700 homes in the Lake Hughes and Lake Elizabeth neighborhoods were allowed to return Monday.

The Antelope Acres area remained under evacuation.

A Red Cross evacuation center was set up at the Marie Kerr Park recreation center at 2723 Rancho Vista Blvd. in Palmdale.

An evacuation site for large animals was set up at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds at 2551 West Avenue H in Lancaster.

Smaller animals were being accepted at the Lancaster Animal Shelter, at 5210 W Avenue I in Lancaster, or at the Castaic Animal Shelter, at 31044 Charlie Canyon Road in Castaic.

Dry brush combined with high temperatures, low humidity and fierce winds have posed major obstacles for firefighters.

In some areas, the brush hasn’t burned since 1929, according to officials.

Wind gusts reached 4o to 45 mph in the area over the weekend. The winds were not as strong overnight on Sunday, which allowed firefighters to set some backfires.

The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory for the Antelope Valley, including Lancaster and Palmdale, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday.

Southwest winds of 20 to 30 mph were expected, with gusts up to 45 mph, peaking in the late afternoon and evening.

Over the next 48 hours, the winds were expected to decrease and humidity was expected to rise as an onshore flow returns, forecasters said.

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

Three firefighters suffered minor heat-related injuries, officials said.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation.

The Powerhouse fire prompts animal evacuations. KTLA’s Christina Pascucci reports.

KTLA’s Dave Mecham reports from a Palmdale shelter preparing for more evacuees from the Powerhouse fire.

Local News
06/02/13

Massive Powerhouse Fire Grows to 25,000 Acres

GREEN VALLEY, Calif. (KTLA) — The massive Powerhouse Fire in the Angeles National Forest grew to 25,000 on Sunday evening, as the blaze remained only 20 percent contained.

Fueled by hot, dry conditions, the four-day-old fire destroyed six homes and damaged 15 more.

Around 2,100 firefighters from throughout California have been brought in to help battle the flames.

Authorities had estimated they would completely contain the fire by Wednesday, but pushed that date until June 10 because of the fire’s increased size.

Wind gusts and hot weather weren’t helping the fight. The forecast Monday called for temperatures around 86 to 90 degrees in the area.

Wind gusts were expected to die down overnight, but then increase to between 35 and 50 mph on Monday.

Authorities evacuated around 2,000 people, according to the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department.

“They’ve been told they’ve been ordered to evacuate, and if they fail to evacuate we won’t be able to go in and help them because we’ll be doing other things,” Lt. Dave Coleman told reporters.

At least 1,000 homes were threatened, with the communities of Lake Hughes under mandatory evacuations and Elizabeth Lake under a voluntary evacuation order from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

A Red Cross evacuation center was set up at the Marie Kerr Park recreation center at 2723-A Rancho Vista Blvd., in Palmdale.

An evacuation site for large animals was set up at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds at 2551 West Avenue H in Lancaster.

Smaller animals can be dropped off at the Lancaster Animal Shelter, at 5210 W Avenue I, Lancaster, CA 93536 or the Castaic Animal Shelter, 31044  Charlie Canyon Rd, Castaic, CA 913536.

The fire broke out shortly before 4 p.m. on Thursday near a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power facility in San 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.

GREEN VALLEY, Calif. (KTLA) — The Powerhouse Fire in the Angeles National Forest dramatically increased in size, and had destroyed six homes by Sunday afternoon.

Fueled by hot, dry conditions, the four-day-old fire raced through hills in the area and consumed 19,500 acres.

The massive fire was only 20 percent contained, according to officials with the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

More than 2,000 fire personnel from throughout California had been brought in to help battle the flames.

The forecast Sunday called for temperatures to drop to around 80 to 85 degrees, from the 100 degree weather that gripped the area a day earlier.

The cooler weather was expected to help firefighters as they battled the flames.

At least 1,000 homes were threatened, with the communities of Lake Hughes under mandatory evacuations and Elizabeth Lake under a voluntary evacuation order from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

A Red Cross evacuation center was set up at the Marie Kerr Park recreation center at 2723-A Rancho Vista Blvd., in Palmdale.

An evacuation site for large animals had been set up at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds at 2551 West Avenue H in Lancaster.

Smaller animals could be dropped off at the Lancaster Animal Shelter, at 5210 W Avenue I, Lancaster, CA 93536 or the Castaic Animal Shelter, 31044  Charlie Canyon Rd, Castaic, CA 913536.

The fire broke out shortly before 4 p.m. on Thursday near a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power facility in San 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.

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (KTLA) — The Powerhouse Fire in the Angeles National Forest dramatically increased in size overnight and was threatening homes on Sunday morning.

At least five structures were destroyed, according to officials with the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Fueled by hot, dry conditions, the four-day-old fire has burned 19,500 acres and is only 20% contained.

The flames also injured three people, according to officials.

Authorities ordered immediate evacuations from San Francisquito Canyon Road up to Elizabeth Lake Road and areas south of Lake Hughes Road.

A Red Cross evacuation center was set up at the Marie Kerr Park recreation center at 2723-A Rancho Vista Blvd., Palmdale.

An evacuation site for large animals has been set up at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds at 2551 West Avenue H in Lancaster.

Hundreds of firefighters and personnel continued to fight the flames, near Santa Clarita.

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.

About 900 firefighters were fighting the blaze Saturday, aided by air tankers and helicopters.