Monday on the fire line | Photo: L.A. County Fire Dept.
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CLICK TO WATCH Monday afternoon’s press conference.
Update from Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich:
On a motion by Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, the Board of Supervisors unanimously ratified the proclamation a local state of emergency resulting from the Powerhouse fire. Started on May 30, the fire has burned approximately 32,032 acres and is 60% contained. A total of 15 structures have been damaged, 6 destroyed, and 275 structures are still threatened.
As the extent of the damage is assessed and thresholds are met, this declaration will waive regulations which may hinder response and recovery efforts, make recovery assistance available under the California Disaster Assistance Act and enable access to applicable federal, state and local resources and disaster relief assistance.
Update 8 a.m., LASD:
Powerhouse Update, June 4, 2013 (8am)
Location: Angeles National Forest, Hughes Lake, Elizabeth Lake, and Green Valley
County: Los Angeles County
Start Date & Report Time: May 31, 2013 3:28 a.m.
Cause: Under Investigation
Acres: 32,032 Structures Threatened: 275
Fire Engines: 155
Containment: 60% Residence Destroyed: 6
Fire Crews: 54
Expected Containment: June 10, 2013
Residence Damaged: 9 Helicopters: 11
Total Personnel: 2,034 Injuries: 3
Air Tankers: 8 Water Tenders: 33
Estimated Cost: $8,707,139
Fire spread was minimal through the night with an increase of only 24 acres. The majority of active fire is along Elizabeth Canyon and Hughes Lake Road northwest to Sawtooth Mountain continuing over Shake Canyon. Fire north of Elizabeth Lake Canyon will burn up slope towards Sawmill Mountain. Fire is currently threatening 275 structures. Today, crews will build direct attack firefighting lines and look for opportunities to strengthen existing lines in the southern portion of the fire in the areas of Hughes Mountain, Abrams Canyon and Deer Canyon; air resources will support these crews.
Overnight crews continued to work on mop up and securing the line. Currently there are 2034 firefighters in place. Additional dozers have been deployed and fire spread is expected to be minimal over most of the fire area. In the areas of Sawtooth Mountain and Sawmill Mountain the fire has potential to spread. Fuels in the area have not burned since 1928. The fuels in this area are unusually heavy, holding heat and having potential to carry the fire. In the area of Fish Creek there is a potential for alignment if we experience an increase in wind and/or temperature. Wind is expected to be minimal today at 5 to 15 mph. Temperature is expected to be 85 degrees.
Evacuation: Many areas have been reopened to residents. No additional evacuations are expected.
Evacuation Center: The Red Cross Shelter is at Marie Kerr Park (Palmdale). Lancaster and Antelope Valley fairgrounds are being used to shelter animals.
Original Tuesday story:
Tuesday begins with 60 percent containment on the Powerhouse Fire, which had scorched 32,032 acres and damaged 15 homes, destroying six.
Overnight, the fire “continued to back down towards indirect lines, with occasional flare-ups well inside the containment lines. Some flanking fire has been observed in the Sawtooth Mountain area,” fire officials said.
As of Monday at 8 p.m., the cost of the fire was pegged at $7.9 million – up from the $2.7 million estimate the previous day. The U.S. Forest Service said it revised the estimate “due to updated data and better capturing of resources assigned to the incident.” FEMA is picking up 75 percent of the tab; USFS and local agencies pay the balance.
USFS pushed back its estimate for full containment to Sunday night at midnight (Monday, June 10).
Flames lick a propane tank, which is all that’s left of a house on Newview Drive in Lake Hughes. Homes on the south side of the street burned down; firefighters saved almost all homes across the street.
At least three firefighters – of more than 2,100 who have battled the blaze – are known to have sustained minor injuries. There have been no human casualties; residents have reported that they lost pets.
The fire started Thursday afternoon, May 30, near the LADWP’s Power House 1 (11.5 miles north of Copper Hill Drive in Santa Clarita), where a DWP worker was first to report it. From there it raced north, threatening Green Valley and ravaging the Hughes and Elizabeth Lake communities.
Antelope Acres in Lancaster, immediately north of Lake Hughes, remained under mandatory evacuation Monday night, but Hughes and Elizabeth Lake residents, as well as those in Leona Valley and Green Valley, were allowed back to reach their homes via roads that remained closed to outsiders (see list below).
Power outages continued to plague Pine Canyon Road – where fire crews put up a fight Monday to contain the flames – and other affected areas where the fire knocked down power lines (see map below).
Monday’s higher humidity helped firefighters in their containment efforts. Nonetheless, as of Monday at 6 p.m., the fire was exhibiting “moderate to rapid rates of spread, with the moderate activity persisting,” the Forest Service said. “Active backing and flanking fire behavior was observed in the Sawtooth Mountain area.”
Returning evacuees were warned to consider any fallen power lines as live, and to boil their water before drinking it (see advisory below).
A DC-10 drops Foschek fire retardant north of Lake Hughes, as seen from Avenue D and 200th Street West. Photo by Matthew Moore.
Notes from Monday 4 p.m. Press Conference in Palmdale (SCVTV’s Austin Dave reporting):
The Antelope Acres community in the Antelope Valley remains under mandatory evacuation said Lt. Dave Coleman of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, and Lake Hughes and Lake Elizabeth could be re-evacuated at any time to facilitate equipment and personnel movements.
A U.S. Forest Service official said there is no word yet on the cause of the fire, which has damaged 15 structures, of which five or six have been destroyed. Another 1,200 to 1,500 have been saved, the official said.
The USFS official said there is no word yet on the cause of the fire.
The fire expanded to nearly 30,000 overnight, with 40 percent containment.
Winds are still strong in the fire area, but increased humidity has aided firefighters, an official said.
“Things are looking much better than yesterday,” the incident commander said, noting that the fire jumped a dozer line in one location Monday but it was contained at five acres.
The use of fixed-wing aircraft at night is unprecedented, said a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita.
A total of 140 people used the Red Cross shelter at Marie Kerr Park in Palmdale overnight, and they have ample food and supplies, said Red Cross spokesman Jeff Baumgartner.
Los Angeles County Public Health officials said returning evacuees should boil their water if they feel their water system has been compromised.
Private well owners should boil water because the fire may have damaged water storage tanks or well casings, and power outages bring low pressure, creating conditions ripe for bacteria to grow.
Outage map, Monday 6:30 p.m. | Click to enlarge
South side perimeter, Tuesday 5:30 a.m.
North side perimeter, Tuesday 5:30 a.m.