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At Least 6 Structures Lost In 22,242-Acre Powerhouse Fire

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NEAR CASTAIC (CBSLA.com) — Authorities Sunday said at least six structures have been destroyed and more than 1,000 homes remain threatened as the Powerhouse Fire expanded in size to 22,242 acres.

The US Forest Service on Sunday evening downgraded the stubborn fire from 25,000 acres.

The fast-moving brush fire crossed Lake Hughes Road to the northwest forcing 1,000 people out of their homes about 9 p.m. Saturday.

At least nine structures that were damaged were being assessed, reported Ed Mertz of KNX 1070.

Matt Corelli of the US. Forest Service said it’s possible that as many as ten structures have been destroyed in the Lake Hughes area. He also said there were several downed power lines in the area.

“The flames did make a run for that community last night. There’s a very active and very busy night to say the least for firefighters,” Mertz said.

“At one point, firefighters in one neighborhood found themselves going house-to-house to protect all the structures in that particular neighborhood in Lake Hughes area. And even at another time, firefighters who were battling this blaze found themselves surrounded by flames as they tried to do the best they could to keep this thing from damaging any more homes,” Mertz said.

No new evacuations were ordered Sunday. But at a 4 p.m. press conference, officials said part of Green Valley (involving about 1000 people and 200 homes) might have to evacuate next.

Mandatory evacuations remained in place for the Lake Hughes community (800 people evacuated, 200 homes).

Lake Elizabeth residents and the residential area of Munz Ranch Road and the California Aqueduct were under voluntary evacuation orders (2000 people affected, 500 homes).

Those evacuation orders are expected to last for at least the next 24 to 48 hours minimum.

On Sunday evening, just after 8 p.m., more evacuations were ordered from Lancaster Road to Avenue D and 170th to 190th South in the Antelope Acres community, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Cottonwood Campground and two probation camps were also evacuated. Residents north of south Portal and west of San Francisquito Canyon Road were also asked to evacuate.

Nearly 1,000 firefighters remained on the fire lines as the fire pushed to the north toward Lancaster. CBS2’s Art Barron on Sunday captured an image of a sign posted in the area that reads, “Thank you firefighters. We are so grateful!!”

(credit: Art Barron/CBS)

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A Red Cross evacuation center at Marie Kerr Park in Palmdale (39700 30th Street West) remained open.

Small animals were being taken to the L.A. County Department of Animal Care & Control, 5210 West Avenue I in Lancaster, and to the Castaic Animal Shelter located at 31044 N. Charlie Canyon Road.

San Francisquito Road above the Power House and below Green Valley was closed. Roads west of Bouquet Canyon on Elizabeth Lake Road to Lake Hughes Road; Johnson Road to Elizabeth Lake Road; and Lake Hughes Road from Elizabeth Lake road to Lake Castaic have also been closed.

San Francisquito Canyon Road at Copper Hill, Bouquet Canyon Road, Spunky Canyon, and Vasquez Canyon Road were open to residents only. In addition, officials said limited resident traffic was being permitted at San Francisquito and Elizabeth Lake roads.

The fire, which erupted Thursday, was being fueled by heavy brush and chaparral in steep terrain.

Firefighters told CBS2’s Jeff Nguyen Sunday that some of the areas of heavy brush hadn’t burned since 1929.

Full containment of the blaze isn’t expected until Monday, June 10. The fire, as of Sunday evening, is currently 20 percent contained.

US Forest Service spokesperson Ron Ashdale says a there have been a total of three minor injuries since the blaze started.

As of Sunday evening, 93 engine companies, eight helicopters, eight air tankers (including a DC 10) were battling the blaze.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

RELATED STORIES:
» Mandatory Evacuations Ordered, More Than 5K Acres Burned As Powerhouse Fire Rages On
» Powerhouse Fire North Of Santa Clarita Continues To Burn
» 1,500-Acre Powerhouse Fire Now 15 Percent Contained

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