California firefighters are battling a huge wildfire in the Angeles National Forest they’re calling the Powerhouse Fire. It has already blazed through 1000 acres of the forest, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
The fire earned its bold-sounding nickname because it originated near a hydroelectric power station near a mountain reservoir that sends electricity to Los Angeles.
According to John Wagner, a spokesman for the Angeles National Forest, the fire is located in the San Francisquito Canyon area near the reservoir.
“It’s got a rapid rate of spread, and it’s burning uphill,” stated Wagner. “The name of the fire is the Powerhouse Fire.”
The fire, at one point, was burning directly under Southern California Edison’s major transmission lines at Power House 1.
CNN reports that electricity is being routed around the hydroelectric power station, which should prevent blackouts from occurring in Los Angeles if the power station gets burned.
Southern California Edison reported that they have not experienced any outages.
The fire is threatening homes and high-power electricity lines, Wagner stated. One building has already burned down because of the blaze.
Approximately three hundred firefighters, primarily brought into service from he U.S. Forest Service and the Los Angeles County Fire Department, are combating the roaring wildfire. They are being aided by several air tankers loaded with fire retardents.
According to Wagner, efforts to contain the fire are being complicated by dry brush burning across a wide area of difficult terrain in the forest northeast of Los Angeles.
The terrain is rugged and difficult to navigate. “It’s very steep there,” Wagner said of the area.
The fire was first reported at 3:28 p.m. Its cause is as yet unknown, but is under investigation, Wagner declared.
According to the California Highway Patrol San Francisquito Canyon Road is closed at Copper Hill Drive, where the roadway begins in a suburban development.
The high temperatures, in the 80’s, and winds that have gusted up to twenty mph, have hindered the efforts of the firefighters to contain the blaze.
According to Daniel Berlant, spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention, the fire was entirely within the national forest and state fire officials were providing assistance. They had sent air tankers to the scene.
“We’ve been sending air tankers all evening,” Berlant stated.
Green Valley residents have been ordered to evacuate, according to the U.S. Forest Service. If you have large animals that need to be evacuated, they can be taken to the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds.
Six hikers were reported missing earlier on this afternoon. Five of them have been found, but the sixth still remains missing.
The fire’s rate of speed has begun to slow down, but firefighters in California are continuing their battle with the appropriately named Powerhouse Fire into the night.
Written by: Douglas Cobb