With the Powerhouse Fire nearing containment, officials and residents are able to assess the damage caused by the more than 30,000-acre blaze.
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Twenty-four homes were lost according to the latest count, in addition to 29 outbuildings. Another three homes and one outbuilding were damaged. Total damage estimates are still being determined, but currently the cost for the incident is reported at $16 million.
The Powerhouse Fire is at 30,274 acres and 78 percent containment, according to fire officials.
Efforts to help cover the mounting costs and address the damage caused by the fire are already underway.
Early Sunday morning, California received approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for a special Fire Management Assistance Grant, which provides funds to reimburse eligible firefighting expenses.
FEMA will reimburse 75 percent of the cost for fighting the fire. Local jurisdiction is expected to cover the remaining 25 percent.
Governor Jerry Brown also received a request from Los Angeles on Wednesday, asking him to declare a state of emergency, according to Sandra Kramer, spokeswoman for state Assemblyman Steve Fox.
A response is expected from the governor’s office late Thursday or early Friday, Kramer said.
“This is a process. There are different levels of emergencies that can be declared. This is not a situation where it’s a national emergency, where the destruction was so horrific that it was indisputable. Obviously there has been a lot of destruction and it is horrific, but the level of loss doesn’t reach the same national standard,” she said.
A state of emergency, whatever the level, would open the door to further funding.
“There will be a lot of access to money and particularly in this condition, money that will be used for replanting, so that there won’t be further disasters associated with floods and runoff and things like that,” Kramer said.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors declared a local state of emergency on Tuesday, which will make is easier to address the damage, according to Tony Bell, spokesman for Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich.
“The declaration will waive regulations which may hinder response and recovery efforts,” Bell said. “It will make recovery assistance available under the California Disaster Assistance Act. Once the damaged is assessed and the thresholds are met, they will enable access to applicable federal state and local resources for disaster relief assistance.”
Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Anthony Akins said that officials expect to have the Powerhouse fire completely knocked down by Monday, June 10.
The fire is not expected to grow beyond it’s current perimeter, but Akins said that helicopters and ground crews are being more vigilant along the western perimeter near Cottonwood Campground, where hot conditions have increased the danger of spotting.
State Assemblyman Steve Fox, D-Palmdale, praised firefighters efforts to get the blaze under control.
“Wildfires are serious events, and these men and women have worked in dangerous, triple-digit conditions to save countless lives and thousands of properties,” he said. “I deeply appreciate the efforts that are being made to help restore safety in our district.”
A total of 1,918 personnel are still working on the fire. Eight injuries, all minor, have been reported to date.
Several roads remain closed. Pine Canyon Road at Dry Gulch Road is closed to all access.
The following roads are closed to the public but open to residents with proof of residency:
- Pine Canyon Road at Three Points, Lake Hughes Road at Sawmill Road
- Spunky Canyon at Bouquet (will be closed to all access Saturday at 8am for an undetermined length of time)
- Munz Ranch Road and Lancaster Road
- San Francisquito Road at Dry Gulch Motorway
- 110th Street West at West Avenue K
- Elizabeth Lake Road at 90th Street West
- 205th Street West at Lancaster Road
Check back for updates. Click here for video of the fire.
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Source: Santa Clarita News