LAKE HUGHES (CBSLA) – Firefighters battling the Lake Fire near Lake Hughes in the Angeles National Forest made good progress on the wildfire overnight Sunday, but a dangerous heat wave which has parked itself over the region will continue to pose major challenges.
The fire has scorched 19,026 acres and was 38% contained as of 7 p.m. Monday, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Full containment was not expected until Sept. 2, officials said.
The blaze has destroyed at least 12 structures and 21 outbuildings, and damaged three others. An estimated 4,570 buildings were also threatened. It is burning through chaparral, brush and timber. The fire is burning through areas which have not seen fire activity in a half-century.
“There have been areas of this fire that have not burned in decades, (and) it’s in inaccessible terrain, which has added to the complexity of the fire,” Los Angeles County Fire Department Chief Daryl Osby said Friday.
The blaze was reported just after 3:30 p.m. Wednesday in the area of Lake Hughes and Pine Canyon roads and quickly exploded amid swirling winds and high temperatures, forcing the evacuation of about 100 homes.
One person suffered an injury due the fire, but further details were not immediately available.
Nearly 1,900 firefighters from several surrounding agencies are battling the blaze with the help of 12 water-dropping helicopters. Temperatures are expected to hit triple-digits into at least Wednesday.
“Dangerous heat and dry conditions remain in place for Monday,” The USFS wrote on its incident information page. “Temperatures will be mid-90s to 107 with relative humidity readings in the upper teens. Winds will be light and northwest in the morning before becoming gusty and out of the southwest in the afternoon. Instability will exist again today leading to afternoon thunderstorms and the possibility of plume dominated fire behavior.”
Evacuation orders remain in place for the following areas:
- Lake Hughes Road West of Pine Canyon and North of Dry Gulch Rd.
- East of Ridge Route Road
- West of Lake Hughes Road and Fire Station 78
- North of Pine Canyon and Lake Hughes Road
- South of SR-138
The cause of the Lake Fire remains under investigation. Meanwhile, a suspect was taken into custody on arson charges Sunday afternoon in connection with the Ranch Fire burning north of Azusa. At last check, that fire was at 3,050 acres and 19% contained.
Firefighters were also able Sunday to halt the forward progress of a 93-acre wildfire which broke out in Malibu, shutting down several major arteries.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)