22,242-Acre Powerhouse Fire Threatens 1,000 Homes

The Powerhouse Fire was approaching the desert city of Lancaster on Sunday

Some 1,000 homes were threatened on Sunday as the 22,242-acre Powerhouse Fire approached the northern Los Angeles County high-desert city of Lancaster, authorities said.

Updated Article: Monday's Weather Key to Fire Fight

The fire destroyed six homes and damaged nine other buildings, U.S. Forest Service spokesman Lee Bentley said.

The fire was 20 percent contained and burning to the northeast, fire officials said. The blaze was burning dense brush on rugged terrain that hasn't burned for more than 80 years.

Officials ramped up their staffing to more than 2,000 firefighters on Sunday to try and get a handle on it. The cost of fighting the fire was estimated at about $3 million.

Firefighters were hopeful that a slight drop in temperatures and more humid conditions would work in their favor on Sunday. Temperatures reach about 90 degrees in areas including where the fire was burning, officials said.

Firefighters were taking no chances.

“It’s got its own mind,” Bentley said. “Unstable air … no set pattern. We want to get a handle on this thing as quickly as we can.”

Three firefighters suffered minor injuries while fighting the blaze. One was injured by a falling rock, another suffered from heat stress and a third was injured by contact with poisonous oak.

The fire broke out Thursday near a hydroelectric plant known as Powerhouse No. 1 in San Francisquito Canyon, north of Santa Clarita.

The community of Lake Hughes was under a mandatory evacuation order and Elizabeth Lake was under a voluntary evacuation order.

Evacuations remained in place along Lake Hughes Road, including two youth probation camps and the Forest Service's Cottonwood Campground.

Lake Hughes and San Francisquito Canyon roads were closed. Bouquet Canyon and Elizabeth Lake roads were open to residents only.


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