Powerhouse Fire Forces Evacuations Again

Cottonwood campground and two youth probation camps along Lake Hughes Canyon Road had to be evacuated.

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The Powerhouse Fire that firefighters have been trying to contain since it broke out Thursday just north of Powerhouse No. 1, a hydroelectric plant near the Los Angeles Aqueduct, has grown and again forced evacuations of area residents, this time over 2,000.

On Thursday, the first time that the Powerhouse Fire showed its fury, approximately 200 people were forced to flee their homes in the mountain community of Green Valley. Also, the Cottonwood campground and two youth probation camps along Lake Hughes Canyon Road had to be evacuated.

Up to 1,000 homes and 2,000 residents were evacuated on Saturday as the inferno spread, burning 5,561 acres as of this report in the mountains north of Los Angeles. Erratic winds continue to push it wildfire closer to the two foothill communities.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies around noon on Saturday evacuated the 41600 Block of Lake Hughes Road, north of Mendenhall Probation Camp due to the blaze.

Residents and emergency personnel are the only ones allowed to enter San Francisquito Canyon Road from Copper Hill, and emergency personnel are the only ones who are permitted to enter the areas between Calle Daggett and the Department of Water and Power Village on the San Francisquito Canyon Road.

Another road that has been partially closed is Elizabeth Lake Canyon Road. It is closed from Cottonwood to Castaic.

The Powerhouse Fire has continued to grow Saturday, resulting in a call to to evacuate the communities of Lake Hughes and Lake Elizabeth south of Tehachapi and west of the City of Lancaster, according to U.S. Forest Service spokesman Nathan Judy.

The wind shifted in several directions, fanning the fire in the Angeles National Forest to nearly 9 square miles, said Judy.

Continuing, he stated that the wind had shifted in several directions Saturday, fanning the fire in the Angeles National Forest to nearly 5,600 acres. The Powerhouse Fire is only about 20 percent contained.

Also, the wind has pushed the fire up and down steep slopes, creating embers that spark spot fires that establish themselves.

Daytime temperatures topping at 105 degrees and erratic winds made the conditions that much more unbearable for the nearly 1,000 firefighters beating back the flames.

According to fire officials, if the fire moves in the predicted north, northwest direction, it could burn directly under power lines.

Throughout the day, a huge plume of smoke was visible from many of the various parts of northern Los Angeles County. Air-quality officials warned against people doing any strenuous outdoor activity, and they advised area residents to stay indoors if possible.

A Red Cross evacuation center was established at Marie Kerr Park at 2723 Rancho Vista Blvd. in Palmdale.

According to Judy, the evening temperatures have dropped to 85 and conditions remained dry.

Two firefighters have been injured due to their efforts at combating the fire. One was struck by a rock on Thursday and another was treated for heat exhaustion Friday afternoon.

The cause of the Powerhouse Fire is still under investigation.

Officials report that the estimated date of full containment is Wednesday, June 5.

Written by: Douglas Cobb

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