Containment Date Extended to Sept. 12 for Lake Hughes Fire

LAKE HUGHES (CNS) - The expected date of full containment for the Lake Fire was extended by 10 days to Sept. 12 today.

All remaining evacuees from the 31,089-acre brush fire near Lake Hughes were set to return home Tuesday as containment of the blaze increased to 65%.

Evacuation orders were to be lifted at 10 a.m. for residents east of Old Ridge Route, west of Kings Canyon Road, north of Pine Canyon Road and south of Highway 138 and California Aqueduct, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Residents on Kings Canyon Road east to Shafer Road were allowed to return home Monday morning.

Residents of Pine and Kings canyons, whose homes were damaged or destroyed in the Lake Fire, were escorted back into the area Saturday and Sunday, authorities said.

The fire has destroyed 12 structures and 21 outbuildings and damaged six other structures, according to the Forest Service. Officials said two people were injured as a result of the fire, but details were not disclosed.

Some 1,305 firefighters were still battling the fire Tuesday.

The warming and drying trend experienced Monday was expected to continue, with a dry southwest flow prevailing over the region. Temperatures were forecasted to be 86-94 degrees, with humidity in the 20-30% range. Winds will continue from the southwest 5-15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph in the afternoon.

“Due to higher humidity, crews are planning a direct attack on the west flank of the fire,'' according to a statement from the Forest Service. “A direct attack strategy works well with high moisture and light winds, and it enables firefighters to work closely to the fire's edge to build containment line.''

Smoke advisories were extended through Monday as a result of the fire, but as of 10 a.m. Tuesday there were no active smoke advisories from the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

Road closures remained in place on Lake Hughes Road from Ridge Route Road to Deeswood Drive, San Francisquito Canyon/Dry Gulch Roads to Lake Hughes Road, and Lake Hughes Road east to Parker Road.

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 Forest Service, which was battling the blaze with the Los Angeles County Fire Department and assistance from other agencies.

“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,'' Los Angeles County Fire Department Chief Daryl Osby said at that time.

The U.S. Forest Service, Los Angeles County Fire Department, 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 remained closed to public access until further notice. Fire personnel were using the lake and surrounding areas as a base camp.

Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a statewide emergency last week to help ensure resources to combat multiple fires burning across the state.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation.

Photo: Getty Images

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