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UPDATE: Officials double the number of firefighters battling Powerhouse Fire

Posted: June 2, 2013 11:46 a.m.
Updated: June 2, 2013 11:46 a.m.
 

Fire officials doubled the number of firefighters trying to stop the “rapidly” spreading Powerhouse Fire as it continues to threaten homes after it gutted six structures overnight, a fire official said.

At 11 a.m. Sunday, 1,125 additional firefighters joined 975 firefighters working to contain the fast-moving brush fire near Lake Elizabeth, bringing the total number of firefighters to 2,100, said Maria Holguin of the U.S. Forest Service.

Fire officials are hoping that the state’s aqueduct will serve as a barrier for the fire as it moves in a northerly direction, and slows the fire down, she said.

“It’s moving towards the north, so we’re hoping it catches the aqueduct near the (Bouquet) Reservoir,” Holguin said at 11 a.m.

The Powerhouse Fire gutted six structures overnight, she said, adding it was not clear whether the structures were homes.

Since Thursday, the brush fire has burned close to 20,000 acres north of Green Valley as nearly 1,000 firefighters fight to contain the “rapidly” spreading wildfire and consider evacuations for Green Valley, said a sheriff’s official assigned to the evacuation control center.

As of 10:30 a.m. Sunday, at least 19,500 acres have burned northwest of Green Valley, west of Bouquet Reservoir, according to the latest update released by officials with the U.S. Fire Service.

“They were talking about evacuations for Green Valley but that hasn’t been confirmed,” said Sgt. Paul Zarris of the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station manning the evacuation post at 10:30 a.m.

“They’re paying attention to the winds, but at this point they’re still talking about it.”

Fire officials report the fire is 20 percent contained as of Sunday morning.

It was described by fire officials as: “Rapid rates of spread with a high resistance to control efforts.”

At least 2,000 residents in the acre were forced from their homes with mandatory evacuations in place for communities of Lake Hughes and Elizabeth Lake, Zarris said.

“Those evacuations for Lake Elizabeth and Lake Hughes remain in place,” he said.

At 10:30 a.m. Sunday, more than 1,000 homes were reported as threatened.

Evacuations remain in place along Lake Hughes Road including two youth probation camps and Cottonwood campground.Lake Hughes Road has been closed from Cottonwood campground on the North to Lake Castaic on the South.

jholt@signalscv.com

661-287-5527

on Twitter @jamesarthurholt

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