22,242-Acre Powerhouse Fire Threatens 1,000 Homes - NBC4 Washington
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22,242-Acre Powerhouse Fire Threatens 1,000 Homes

The Powerhouse Fire was approaching the desert city of Lancaster on Sunday



    Powerhouse Fire Burns into the Night; Evacuees Weather Firestorm in Shelter

    The Powerhouse Fire, which started north of Santa Clarita, went from 5,600 acres to 22,242 acres in less than 24 hours and was burning toward the high desert community of Lancaster. Jane Yamamoto and Tena Ezzeddine report from the ground in the Antelope Valley on NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Sunday, June 2, 2013. (Published Monday, June 3, 2013)

    Some 1,000 homes were threatened on Sunday as the 22,242-acre Powerhouse Fire approached the northern Los Angeles County high-desert city of Lancaster, authorities said.

    Updated Article: Monday's Weather Key to Fire Fight

    The fire destroyed six homes and damaged nine other buildings, U.S. Forest Service spokesman Lee Bentley said.

    The fire was 20 percent contained and burning to the northeast, fire officials said. The blaze was burning dense brush on rugged terrain that hasn't burned for more than 80 years.

    Officials ramped up their staffing to more than 2,000 firefighters on Sunday to try and get a handle on it. The cost of fighting the fire was estimated at about $3 million.

    Firefighters were hopeful that a slight drop in temperatures and more humid conditions would work in their favor on Sunday. Temperatures reach about 90 degrees in areas including where the fire was burning, officials said.

    Firefighters were taking no chances.

    “It’s got its own mind,” Bentley said. “Unstable air … no set pattern. We want to get a handle on this thing as quickly as we can.”

    Three firefighters suffered minor injuries while fighting the blaze. One was injured by a falling rock, another suffered from heat stress and a third was injured by contact with poisonous oak.

    The fire broke out Thursday near a hydroelectric plant known as Powerhouse No. 1 in San Francisquito Canyon, north of Santa Clarita.

    The community of Lake Hughes was under a mandatory evacuation order and Elizabeth Lake was under a voluntary evacuation order.

    Evacuations remained in place along Lake Hughes Road, including two youth probation camps and the Forest Service's Cottonwood Campground.

    Lake Hughes and San Francisquito Canyon roads were closed. Bouquet Canyon and Elizabeth Lake roads were open to residents only.

    A Red Cross evacuation center is located at Marie Kerr Park, 39700 30th St. W. Palmdale, 93551.

    The Antelope Valley Fairgrounds are serving as a shelter for large animals.