Firefighters Reach 5% Containment On 11,000-Acre Lake Hughes Fire


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LAKE HUGHES (CNS) - A fire burning near the Lake Hughes area has destroyed three structures, scorched 11,000 acres and was 5% contained this morning as firefighters braced for dangerously hot weather caused by a heat wave this weekend.

“Near critical fire weather conditions could develop Friday afternoon and evening as gusty onshore winds could combine with warm and dry conditions in place,'' the Los Angeles County Fire Department reported Thursday.

Crews were able to take advantage of improved fire weather conditions Thursday with slightly lower temperatures and moisture from the former hurricane Elida moving across the area, the department said.

“Current objectives include keeping the fire north of Castaic Lake, south of Highway 138, east of Red Rock Mountain and west of Tule Ridge,'' the department said.

The fire was reported at about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday near North Lake Hughes Road and Pine Canyon Road in the Angeles National Forest and was 5% contained as of 7 p.m. Thursday, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department, which was battling the blaze with Angeles National Forest crews, as well as assistance from the Los Angeles, Culver City, Beverly Hills, Monterey Park, Long Beach and Santa Monica fire departments.

The fire's size was listed as 11,000 acres Thursday night, with three structures destroyed and 5,420 threatened, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. No injuries have been reported.

“There have been areas of this fire that have not burned in decades, (and) it's in inaccessible terrain, which has added to the complexity of the fire,'' said Los Angeles County Fire Department Chief Daryl Osby.

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Although some structures were lost, a number of structures were saved by firefighters, he said.

“It's going to be a hot, dry summer -- and it's going to be a very, very hot, dry weekend,'' Osby said.

On Wednesday, the fire west of Palmdale had a “rapid rate of spread,'' amid temperatures in the mid-90s, low humidity and gusty winds, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The forest service and county fire departments quickly called in second-alarm responses.

The fire was entirely on federal land, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Mandatory evacuations were ordered for the area east of Ridge Route Road, west of Lake Hughes Road, north of Pine Canyon Road and Lake Hughes Road, and south of state Route 138, said Los Angeles County sheriff's Capt. Ron Shaffer of the Palmdale Station.

More than 100 structures were affected in the evacuation area, including primary residences and outbuildings, in the communities of Lake Hughes and Pine Canyon, officials said.

Evacuation centers were set up for displaced residents at Highland High School in Palmdale and the Castaic Sports Complex.

“In this evacuation, unfortunately because of COVID protocols, a shelter is not actually established, people will have to stay in their cars,'' Shaffer said earlier. People staying in their cars at a center are allowed to have small animals with them.

Animal boarding was made available at Castaic Animal Care Center, Lancaster Animal Care Center, Palmdale Animal Care Center and the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds, according to the American Red Cross Los Angeles.

San Francisquito Canyon Road was closed from Stater Lane to Spunky Canyon Thursday evening, as well as Three Points Road from State Route 138 to Pine Canyon.

More than 1,000 firefighters, along with three helicopters, five water tenders, and 173 engines, were assigned to the firefighting effort.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

Photos: Getty Images


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