LAKE HUGHES (CBSLA) — Evacuations remain in place for several areas near the Lake Hughes fire, which has consumed 31,089 acres and was 52% contained as of Saturday night.
Smoke advisories were extended through Sunday for the fire, elevated fine particulate matter levels due to smoke from wildfires that have burned nearly one million acres throughout the state in the past month, the South Coast Air Quality Management District said.
Some residents had the chance to be escorted to their damaged homes this weekend to retrieve anything, with the help of firefighters, that may have survived the flames.
The same opportunity to canvass affected properties will be provided again on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for residents who show identification and had a home that was damaged or destroyed in the area.
Nearly 2,000 firefighters continued efforts to contain the fire, which is expected to continue growing to the west and to the north and northwest until it transitions to the lighter high desert fuels of the western Antelope Valley.
Since the fire began on August 12 in the Angeles National Forest, it has destroyed 12 structures and 21 outbuildings, damaged six structures and threatens 1,329 others, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said.
One firefighter suffered a minor injury but details about his condition were not disclosed. No other injuries have been reported.
The following road closures remained in place:
- Three Points Road from state Route 138 to Pine Canyon
- Old Ridge Route from Highway 138 to Pine Canyon
- Pine Canyon Road from Ridge Route Road to Lake Hughes Road
The following areas remained under evacuation orders:
- East of Old Ridge Route
- West of Shafer Road, South of Highway 138
- North of Pine Canyon Road / Elizabeth Lake Road
- Lake Hughes Road South of Deeswood Drive and North of Dry Gulch Road
The U.S. Forest Service, Los Angeles County Fire Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s
Department, California Highway Patrol and other agencies have been working together to battle the fire.
Full containment is not expected until September 2 and the cause of the fire remained under investigation.
Meanwhile, fire crews statewide are dealing with an abundance of other wildfires and brush fires.
As of Saturday night, more than 140,000 people in the Bay Area have been evacuated and others are choosing to stay behind in an attempt to protect their home, despite officials pleading with them to leave.
“That’s one of the biggest problems is people decide that they want to stay that they’re not in great danger and then if it does, the situation does change, the firefighters have to shift their focus from fighting the fire to try to protect life,” said Daron Wyatt, the public information officer for the California Interagency Emergency Response Team.
Particularly in Southern California, officials said the recent fires that have been sparked have come earlier in the fire season than anticipated and are larger than usual.
“Our season typically starts October, November when we have the Santa Ana winds come in, but here we are,” Wyatt said. “July 31st was the start of the Applewood fire and now just a week later, we had the Lake Fire and the Ranch, too.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a statewide emergency Tuesday to help ensure resources to combat multiple fires burning across the state.
In response to other wildfires burning throughout California, President Donald Trump on Saturday also approved disaster declaration to make federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Lake, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, and Yolo.
Officials said firefighters are traveling throughout the state to help where they’re needed and they continue to encourage residents to be prepared to leave in case their home is included in an evacuation warning or order.
For information about fire safety and preparedness, residents can either visit their local fire station or seek out resources online such as the guides available at fire.lacounty.gov/rsg.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)