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UPDATE: Evacuation order lifted in 1,000 acre Powerhouse fire

San Francisquito Canyon Road shut down above Copper Hill Drive

Posted: May 30, 2013 4:34 p.m.
Updated: May 30, 2013 8:30 p.m.

A helicopter performs a water drop on the Powerhouse Fire on Friday. The quick-moving fire charred 1,000 acres and forced evacuations in the Green Valley area.

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A rapidly spreading fire in the mountains north of the Santa Clarita Valley scorched 1,000 acres in less than four hours Thursday, prompting evacuations and threatening rural homes in the Green Valley area, according to fire officials.

Originally reported as a two- to three-acre fire shortly before 3:30 p.m., the fire had charred 1,000 acres by 6:45 p.m., according to Inspector Andre Gougis with the Los Angeles County Fire Department. At 8 p.m. the fire was still reported at 1,000 acres.

The rapid growth of the blaze, dubbed the “Powerhouse Fire,” prompted a series of mandatory evacuations for residents of Green Valley, according to an official in the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station.

But as darkness fell shortly after 8 p.m., fire officials indicated the fire was beginning to die down. Some 250 homes were believed to be evacuated, but the evacuation order was lifted shortly after 10 p.m.

Those ordered out had the option of leaving their animals at animal shelters in Castaic or Lancaster, according to information posted by the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control. Large animals could be taken to the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds in Lancaster.

San Francisquito Canyon Road was closed to all traffic from Elizabeth Lake Road to Copper Hill Drive for more than three hours to give emergency crews access to the fire, said Lt. John Rush with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.

Though the fire was burning near some power lines and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s Plant 1 in San Francisquito Canyon, no power outages were reported, according to information posted on the official Twitter account for Southern California Edison and a news release from the department.

Reports of the fire began shortly before 3:30 p.m. Thursday, when officials with both the Los Angeles County Fire Department and the U.S. Forest Service received word of a fire burning near San Francisquito Canyon Road and Clearwater Canyon Road, said John Wagner, spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service.

More than 100 firefighters, bulldozers, water carriers and water-dumping helicopters were pressed into action by county firefighting units from the Santa Clarita Valley and Palmdale.

The Powerhouse Fire marks the fourth consecutive day of brush fires in the Santa Clarita Valley.

On Wednesday, a fire burned one and a half acres of Pitchess Detention Center property in Castaic.

Close to 150 acres burned near Six Flags Magic Mountain on Tuesday, at one point threatening both the amusement park and two Stevenson Ranch schools.

No evacuations were carried out in that fire.

On Monday, firefighters battled two fires — a three-acre fire in Val Verde and one in Castaic that burned more than a quarter acre.



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