LAKE HUGHES (CNS) - Repopulation efforts for some residents evacuated due to the Lake Fire burning near Lake Hughes will begin this morning.
Residents east of Shafer Road, west of Mountain View Road, south of Highway 138, and north of Pine Canyon Road/Elizabeth Lake Road will be able to return to their homes beginning at 10 a.m., according to an official with the U.S. Forest Service.
“Due to the hard work and effort of the multi-agency firefighting crews, the northeast area of Lake Hughes has been determined to be safe for return and repopulation,'' the official said.
Residents can access the area from Elizabeth Lake Road from the east.
Repopulation will not go into effect for residents who live east of Old Ridge Route, west of Shafer Road, south of Highway 138, north of Pine Canyon Road/Elizabeth Lake Road, and on Lake Hughes Road south of Deeswood Drive and north of Dry Gulch Road.
Containment of the 28,912-acre Lake Fire increased to 52% today after nine days of burning in steep and rugged terrain and fueled by bone-dry vegetation and drought-stressed trees.
Containment of the fire west of Palmdale was 36% Thursday morning, according to an official with the U.S. Forest Service.
Full containment is not expected until Sept. 2.
Since it began on Aug. 12, the fire has destroyed 12 structures and 21 outbuildings, damaged three structures and threatens 1,329 others, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
Over 1,800 fire personnel were assigned to battle the flames as of Thursday evening, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
One firefighter suffered a minor injury, but details were not disclosed.
The left flank of the fire in the area of Sawmill Mountain, Burnt Peak and Little Burnt Peak is presenting the most challenging fire behavior, the department said, adding containment along Pine Mountain Road continues to be threatened by spot fires.
Road closures remained in place on Three Points Road from state Route 138 to Pine Canyon, Old Ridge Route from Highway 138 to Pine Canyon, and Pine Canyon Road from Ridge Route Road to Lake Hughes Road.
Poor air quality in and around the area of the fire was expected to affect the public and first responders.
The fire was first reported about 3:30 p.m. Aug. 12 near North Lake Hughes Road and Pine Canyon Road in the Angeles National Forest, according to the U. S. Forest Service, which was battling the blaze with the Los Angeles County Fire Department and assistance from other area departments.
“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.
The U.S. Forest Service, LACFD, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, California Highway Patrol and many other cooperating agencies were working together to battle the fire, with the Incident Command Post located in the Castaic Lake Recreation Area.
Castaic Lake remains closed to public access until further notice. Fire personnel are using the lake and surrounding areas as a base camp.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a statewide emergency Tuesday to help ensure resources to combat multiple fires burning across the state.
A virtual meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday and will be live-streamed on the Angeles National Forest and LACFD's Facebook pages and the department's Instagram page.
Photo: Getty Images