County officials have declared a state of emergency for the Powerhouse Fire incident, which has torched more than 32,000 acres at the most recent count, officials said Tuesday.
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On a motion by Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously ratified the proclamation a local state of emergency resulting from the Powerhouse Fire.
There’s also been an increase in the number of homes destroyed, said Inspector Tony Akins of Los Angeles County Fire Department, reporting from he scene of the fire
“We’re reporting 16 structures, homes, destroyed, and an additional three damaged,” Akins said. “Lake Hughes Road is basically closed top to bottom and our other closures are open to residents only.”
The are 275 structures are still threatened, according to U.S. Forest Service officials.
Started on May 30, the fire has burned approximately 32,032 acres.
As the extent of the damage is assessed and thresholds are met, this declaration will waive regulations which may hinder response and recovery efforts, make recovery assistance available under the California Disaster Assistance Act and enable access to applicable federal, state and local resources and disaster relief assistance.
The Powerhouse Fire is now at 60 percent containment, and fire officials remain optimistic that figure could be even higher by day’s end due to “dramatic progress,” fire officials said Tuesday.
The blaze, which has torched six homes displaced thousands for several days and torched 32,032 acres, is now being countered by more than 1,000 firefighters in addition to cooler temperatures for the first time in nearly a week.
There are still road closures in place as a precaution, but officials are hopeful for a higher containment percentage this afternoon.
The fire continued to back down towards indirect lines with occasional flare-ups well inside the containment lines, U.S. Forest Service officials said. Some flanking fire has been observed in the Sawtooth Mountain area.
“We are definitely making a lot of progress out here,” said Inspector Scott Miller of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, from the scene of the blaze.
“We have 60 percent containment and our crews are still going to be out here working,” he added.
While wind gusts approached 30 to 40 mph for the first five days, milder conditions also were helping Tuesday morning.
The fire is still burning to the northwest, according to Forest Service officials
“We haven’t seen as strong as winds as we’ve seen the last couple of days, which is giving us help getting the upperhand,” Miller said.
Part of the issues has been that while fire officials were anticipating an extremely harsh fire season, the dry brush, or “fuel” levels are unseasonably high for this early in the summer, he said.
“It’s really just a lack of rain and moisture out here, combined with it not burning for a long time, either, Miller said. “The fuel bed out there is dry about two months early.”
Despite the dryness, there was optimism between both the Angeles National Forest Service crews and county firefighters, which are still operating a unified command because the fire is still burning in the forest and unincorporated areas, he said.
There are hard closures still in place on Ridge Route Road at Lake Hughes Road, and on Pine Canyon Road at Three Points community, and Pine Canyon at Lake Hughes Road, according to Matt Corelli of the U.S. Forest Service.
The following roads are under hard closures that are open to residents only — Spunky Canyon Road at Bouquet Canyon Road; San Francisquito Canyon at Dry Gulch; 110th at Avenue K; and Elizabeth Lake at 90th.
And all roads between Avenue D and Lancaster Road, 190th Street and 170th Street.
However, all evacuations have been lifted, according to Forest Service officials.
Watch footage of the Powerhouse fire on KHTS’ Youtube Channel.
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Source: Santa Clarita News