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Evacuations ordered as Powerhouse fire threatens homes

June 01, 2013|By Rosanna Xia and Ruben Vives

Authorities ordered evacuations late Saturday of areas in the Lake Elizabeth area west of Lancaster as the 3,600-acre Powerhouse fire began to threaten structures in the area.

The Los Angeles County fire and sheriff’s departments ordered immediate evacuations from San Francisquito Canyon Road up to Elizabeth Lake Road and areas south of Lake Hughes Road.

A Red Cross evacuation center was set up at the Marie Kerr Park recreation center at 2723-A Rancho Vista Blvd., Palmdale. An evacuation site for large animals has been set up at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds at 2551 West Avenue H in Lancaster.

Officials had worried that hot weather and winds Saturday could drive the fire toward homes.

PHOTOS: Powerhouse fire

Temperatures in the fire zone were topping 100 degrees, with relative humidity in the single digits. “It’s going to be very hot and dry with not a whole lot of wind,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Sukup in Oxnard.

Beginning Monday, conditions should start to improve, Sukup said. “Relative humidity should be increasing as the marine layer returns tomorrow,” he said. Sunday’s highs in the fire zone are forecast to be in the upper 80s and low 90s, with about 20% to 30% relative humidity.

The flames are chewing through dried-out brush and chaparral in the steep, rugged terrain not far from Castaic Lake. So far, one structure has burned and two minor injuries to crew members have been reported, officials said. Both injured firefighters were back on the fire line Saturday, said Nathan Judy, a U.S. Forest Service spokesman.

MAP: Evacuation areas, road closures and more

In addition to the firefighters, 10 fixed-wing aircraft and eight air tankers were battling the blaze, which broke out shortly before 4 p.m. Thursday near a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power station in San Francisquito Canyon near Drinkwater Reservoir, officials said.

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