The Powerhouse Fire has now burned more than 19,500 acres, and is reported at 20 percent containment, U.S. Forest Service officials said Sunday.
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The dryness of the area, as well as the winds and high amount of fuel have created a major obstacle for the more than 980 fire personnel who are on the scene.
“We have six confirmed structures that were destroyed,” said Ronald Ashdale, U.S. Forest Service spokesman, adding that he wasn’t sure if they were all houses. “We use the word structure so that we can avoid speculation.”
There have been no injuries since two firefighters were hurt Saturday afternoon; however, those firefighters were reportedly back on the fire lines by Saturday evening.
While there’s still thousands of acres of forest land burning, “the bulk of the fire head” is now on unincorporated Los Angeles County land, Ashdale said.
“It’s north of Pine Canyon Highway, and north of Elizabeth Lake,” he added. “It’s actually burning off the forest and on to Los Angeles County land.”
Meanwhile, the “front” of the fire is still burning away from the Santa Clarita Valley and Castaic area. Saturday afternoon winds briefly pushed the fire toward this direction, but the fire headed north again Saturday evening.
“It would be the area between Indian Springs and Price Canyon,” Ashdale said, pinpointing the largest where the most fire personnel are. “It’s burning north toward the California Aqueduct.
“There are still fires burning in the forest, but it would be safe to say the focus is on those areas,” Ashdale said.
The Powerhouse Fire has prompted more than 2,000 residents to be evacuated from the communities of Lake Hughes and Lake Elizabeth. There are still about 1,000 homes in the area threatened.
Palmdale Sheriff’s Deputy Dang said the department is staging an evacuation of Green Valley and is waiting for word from fire personnel.
Firest Service officials gave the following information on evacuations Saturday evening:
Now where those evacuations take place is critical, as well, because it’s south of Lake Elizabeth Road so residents that live in both of those communities north of the road are not under evacuation, it’s simply south of Lake Elizabeth road, the communities of Lake Hughes and Lake Elizabeth and it is mandatory for Lake Hughes and voluntary for Lake Elizabeth.
“There also is a little, about a mile, maybe even a little less — that was not under evacuation, that is now under evacuation — that’s from the Camp Mendenhall, down near Lake Hughes, all the way to Lake Elizabeth.
“So essentially the evacuation goes from Lake Hughes (Road) to Lake Elizabeth all the way to San Francisquito Canyon Road, and that is south of Lake Elizabeth Road, that is roughly 2,000 residents that will be affected by that.”
The fire has been burning since about Thursday afternoon, and has shifted directions several times.
At least one of those “structures lost” is part of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power facility that is suspected to be a cause behind the initial fire.
There are still several evacuations and closures in place from Saturday:
Evacuations remain in place along Lake Hughes Road including two youth probation camps and Cottonwood campground.
Lake Hughes Road has been closed from Cottonwood campground on the North to Lake Castaic on the South.
Check with Palmdale Sheriff’s Department for more detailed information regarding any evacuations at (661) 272-2400.
San Franscisquito Canyon Road remains under a hard closure, which means no one may go in or out. Bouquet Canyon Road is under a soft closure open to residents only. Elizabeth Lake Road is under a soft closure.
A Red Cross evacuation center is located at Marie Kerr Park, 39700 30th St. W. Palmdale, 93551 for residents.
Red Cross will identify any new animal evacuation centers.
Right now, small animals and livestock may be taken to the Lancaster Animal Shelter, 5210 W Avenue I, or Castaic Animal Shelter, 31044, Charlie Canyon Road.
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Source: Santa Clarita News