Erratic winds are being blamed for fueling the nearly 20,000-acre Powerhouse fire overnight that forced the evacuation of hundreds of homes in the Lake Hughes area, with at least five homes destroyed.
Residents of Lake Elizabeth and the Green Valley areas were also evacuated as the fire continued to burn out of control, officials said. The fire is only 20% contained.
Record-breaking heat, low humidity and dry conditions made it more difficult Saturday for the nearly 1,000 firefighters battling the blaze, which tripled in size overnight as winds picked up. Water-dropping helicopters worked late into the night to protect homes.
About 19,500 acres has burned so far, fire officials told KTLA-Channel 5.
Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Keith Mora said the destroyed homes were north of Elizabeth Lake Road. Mora said 975 firefighters and other personnel were assigned to the blaze, which had already caused three minor injuries to firefighters.