For the first time in four days, fire officials are weighting reports of the Powerhouse Fire with cautious optimism, during a news conference Monday.
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“They’re making progress, and that’s very encouraging,” said John Wagner of the U.S. Forest Service. The fire is now at 32,008 acres, with 60 percent containment as if 7:15 p.m. Monday.
There are 275 structures threatened, down from more than 1,000 earlier, Wagner said.
The evacuations for Lake Hughes, Elizabeth Lake and Green Valley communities have been lifted.
“It’s with some guarded optimism that I bring you good news today,” said Norm Walker, incident commander for the U.S. Forest Service, which is sharing command with the Los Angeles County Fire Department. “As we were speaking (Sunday), the sky was covered in dark smoke. So far, things look much better than they did (Sunday).”
Weather conditions and improved humidity levels have played a role, county fire officials said.
“What a difference a day makes,” said David Richardson, Los Angeles County Fire Department incident commander. “The humidity has really helped.”
County officials put out a Google Map for the Powerhouse Fire incident Monday afternoon.
Progress was made Sunday night, which continued Monday, despite wind gusts that reached 45 mph earlier in the morning.
A statement by state Sen. Steve Knight, expressed concern for the half-dozen Antelope Valley residents who lost their homes, but the fire has seemed to slow down.
“If it behaves much like it did (Sunday), then I want to cautiously be optimistic that that would be a good deal for us,” said Tony Akins L.A. County Fire Department inspector, adding that an “air show” worth of helicopter activity has helped the northwestern corner of the fire.
That was where the bulk of concern about fire activity has been since Saturday evening, according to fire officials.
“The bulk of the fire activity is west of the community of Lake Hughes, and moving slowly northward into the desert,” Akins said.
More than 2,000 firefighters are out trying to contain the fire and about 1,000 homes have been threatened.
Updated road-closure information also has been released, Akins said.
“In Leona Valley, the previous road closures have been lifted,” Akins said. “With respect to Lake Hughes and Lake Elizabeth, those roads are open to residents who can verify they live in the area.
“We want to let residents in there who can identify any homes lost and so we can start the recovery process for them,” Akins said.
Power lines and the communities of Green Valley, Lake Hughes and Elizabeth Lake, as well as the critical watershed areas and threatened and endangered species, continued to be impacted, according to the U.S. Forest Service data website.
The County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control is currently assisting with animal evacuations due to the Powerhouse fire.
DACC is utilizing staff from the six County animal care centers, as well as the Department’s Volunteer Equine Response Team to assist pet owners with evacuating animals.
Here’s a list of road closures from the California Highway Patrol:
- Lancaster Rd @ Munz Ranch Rd, soft closure residents only
- 110TH St W @ Avenue K, soft closure residents only
- San Francisquito Cyn @ Dry Gulch, soft closure residents only
- Lake Hughes @ Ridge Route, hard closure for northbound traffic
- Lake Hughes @ Elizabeth Lake , hard closure for westbound and southbound traffic
- Pine Cyn @ 3 Points, hard closure
- Bouquet Canyon @ Spunky Canyon now soft closure residents only
- Hard closure until 3:50 p.m. San Francisquito @ Elizabeth Lake, at 3:00 p.m. will be residents only.
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Source: Santa Clarita News