LAKE HUGHES (CBSLA.com) — Evacuation orders were lifted for more than 3,000 residents Monday night as authorities reported 60 percent containment of the Powerhouse Fire.
The fire, which has burned more than 32,000 acres and 46 square miles between Santa Clarita and the Antelope Valley, has damaged nine homes and destroyed six, according to authorities.
Evacuation orders were lifted for residents in the Lake Hughes and Lake Elizabeth communities, though the areas remained closed to non-residents. Antelope Acres remained under mandatory evacuation Monday due to fire equipment in the area.
Calmer winds and cooler temperatures Monday improved conditions for firefighters as they sought to prevent the fire from jumping Lake Hughes Road, which caused damage to structures Sunday.
Authorities estimated 275 structures remained under threat from the flames.
Lake Hughes resident Joe Biviano lost his 1,750-square-foot home to the flames. He and his wife lived in the home for 15 years.
“I was really sad, because there were a lot of memories up here,” he said. “We really enjoyed living up here.”
The 63-year-old Lockheed test pilot and Navy veteran evacuated with his wife Saturday night. He said he realized Sunday just how bad the fire had become, though he had no idea his house would be lost.
“I thought everything would be burned, but I’d still have my home,” said Biviano. “But that wasn’t the case.”
Biviano said he and his wife regularly cleared brush and maintained the area. He believes firefighters fought hard to save his property, pointing to hoses left behind in the area.
“I realize this is a new beginning for something,” he said.
The fire began Thursday and was fanned by triple-digit temperatures and strong winds that helped push the fire across the California Aqueduct and into the Antelope Valley over the weekend.
Authorities estimate the fire has caused nearly $8 million in damage.
A Red Cross evacuation center, which has been flooded with donations of food, water and supplies, was established at Marie Kerr Park, 39700 30th Street West, in Palmdale. An estimated 140 people continued to receive services there as of Monday afternoon.
Containment is expected by June 10.