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Containment of Powerhouse fire rises to 83%

June 06, 2013|By Hector Becerra
  • This home on Newview Road in Lake Hughes was among those destroyed in the Powerhouse fire.
This home on Newview Road in Lake Hughes was among those destroyed in the… (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times )

Firefighters have increased their containment of the massive Powerhouse fire, which has destroyed 24 homes, to 83%.

Ian MacDonald, a spokesman for the fire’s incident command, said the 30,000-acre fire was still threatening about 275 homes.

Temperatures soared to 97 degrees in some areas of the fire, and winds gusted to 35 mph earlier Thursday, but “firefighters were very successful in continuing to contain the fire,” MacDonald said.

He said fire officials expect full containment by Monday.

The number of destroyed homes has more than doubled.

Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Anthony Akins attributed the rise in damage figures to a survey by ground crews, who were able to explore the burn area more fully. He said he believed some of the additional destroyed homes were in a canyon near Lake Hughes. 

The fire began May 30 near a power station in the Angeles National Forest. Akins said the acreage burned was revised downward, from 32,000 acres estimated via helicopter, once ground crews were able to get a more accurate survey of the damage.

In all, 24 homes were destroyed in Lake Hughes, Elizabeth Lake and nearby communities, and three others were damaged; an additional 29 structures -- such as pump houses, sheds and small barns -- were lost and one damaged, Akins said. 

Firefighters, however, saved hundreds of homes when the fire swept through the communities overnight Saturday, triggering evacuations. Most of those evacuated have been allowed to return home.

Nearly 2,000 personnel continue to battle the stubborn fire, which is burning now in mainly rugged, unpopulated terrain.

The fire's cause remains under investigation.

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Twitter: @LATimesHekutor | hector.becerra@latimes.com

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