What to Know
- The Lake Fire started Wednesday afternoon in the Angeles National Forest north of Los Angeles.
- Heat and strong winds are expected in the Lake Hughes area through the weekend.
- Several homes burned after the fire began near North Lake Hughes Road and Pine Canyon Road in the Angeles National Forest.
Additional evacuations were ordered then lifted Friday night as the fire burning near Lake Hughes grew to 17,482 acres with 12% containment, after destroying five structures and threatening more over the last three days.
Shortly after 5:30 p.m. Friday, the fire's flare-up forced additional evacuations for the Fairmont area east of Lancaster, where residents were told to evacuate from north of Avenue D/Highway 138, south of Avenue A, west of 150th Street West and east of 200th Street West, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Palmdale Station. The evacuations were lifted by 9:30 p.m.
Mandatory evacuations have been in effect for the area east of Ridge Route Road, west of Lake Hughes Road, north of Pine Canyon Road and Lake Hughes Road, and south of state Route 138, said Los Angeles County sheriff's Capt. Ron Shaffer of the Palmdale Station.
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A second evacuation site was established Friday at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds according to the American Red Cross, which also opened an evacuation center at Highland High School. The Castaic Sports Complex evacuation center, which operated on Thursday, was closed Friday.
The multi-agency effort had 1,563 personnel battling the blaze Friday evening, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
"Fire will continue to grow and threaten the surrounding communities of Lake Hughes, Leona Valley, Lake Elizabeth, Pine Canyon, Quail Lake, Three Points, Historic Ridge Route and Inventoried Roadless areas," fire officials said during a late-morning update Friday.
"Spotting and aggressive fire behavior will continue."
Fanning the flames is this weekend's heat wave, with firefighters braced for dangerously hot weather that will make battling the fire more difficult.
The focus for crews on Friday was "fire suppression, air operations, evacuations as needed and structure defense operations … line construction where possible," officials said.
No injuries have been reported, but at least five structures have been destroyed and further damage assessments were being conducted.
The fire was reported at about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday near North Lake Hughes Road and Pine Canyon Road in the Angeles National Forest and was 5% contained as of 7 p.m. Thursday, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department, which was battling the blaze with Angeles National Forest crews, as well as assistance from the Los Angeles, Culver City, Beverly Hills, Monterey Park, Long Beach and Santa Monica fire departments.
"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," said Los Angeles County Fire Department Chief Daryl Osby.
Strong winds are expected Thursday after the fire spread rapidly Wednesday afternoon and into the overnight hours. At least three homes burned in the 20000 block of Pine Canyon Road, where most of the devastation was reported overnight. The neighborhood is along the eastern flank of the fire.
Several vehicles also burned and more than 5,000 buildings are threatened by flames.
"We had firefighters fighting the fire all night, primarily with perimeter control," Osby said. He said that although some structures were lost, a number of structures were saved by firefighters.
"It's going to be a hot, dry summer -- and it's going to be a very, very hot, dry weekend," Osby said.
On Wednesday, the fire west of Palmdale had a "rapid rate of spread," amid temperatures in the mid-90s, low humidity and gusty winds, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The forest service and county fire departments quickly called in second-alarm responses.
The fire was entirely on federal land as of 6:30 p.m., according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
More than 100 structures were affected in the evacuation area, including primary residences and outbuildings, in the communities of Lake Hughes and Pine Canyon, officials said.
Evacuation centers were set up for displaced residents at Highland High School in Palmdale and the Castaic Sports Complex.
"In this evacuation, unfortunately because of COVID protocols, a shelter is not actually established, people will have to stay in their cars," Shaffer said earlier. People staying in their cars at a center are allowed to have small animals with them.
Animal boarding was made available at Castaic Animal Care Center, Lancaster Animal Care Center, Palmdale Animal Care Center and the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds, according to the American Red Cross Los Angeles.
By 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, the flames had jumped Pine Canyon Road, two miles west of Lake Hughes Road, and shortly after, flames were seen on aerial footage burning structures that appeared to be homes in the area.
San Francisquito Canyon Road was closed from Stater Lane to Spunky Canyon Thursday evening, as well as Three Points Road from State Route 138 to Pine Canyon.
More than 1,000 firefighters, along with three helicopters, five water tenders, and 173 engines, were assigned to the firefighting effort Thursday, and officials warned about warmer and drier conditions Friday.
"Near critical fire weather conditions could develop Friday afternoon and evening as gusty onshore winds could combine with warm and dry conditions in place," the Los Angeles County Fire Department reported.