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Lake Fire Updates: What We Know So Far As The Wildfire Grows In Lake Hughes

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Flames from the Lake Fire burn on a hillside near a fire truck and other vehicles on Wednesday in Lake Hughes. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
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The Lake Fire broke out Wednesday afternoon and quickly exploded to more than 10,000 acres within a few hours, forcing hundreds of people in the Lake Hughes area to evacuate.

In an update Thursday morning, fire officials said 10,500 acres have burned and more than 5,400 homes and other structures are threatened. More than 1,050 firefighters are on the scene.

No injuries have been reported, but three structures have been destroyed, according to fire officials. Containment is at 0%.

Firefighers are dealing with "extreme and aggressive fire behavior," officials said, and expect the fire to grow rapidly. One key objective today: keeping the fire "north of Castaic Lake, south of Highway 138, east of Red Rock Mountain, and west of Tule Ridge."

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At a press briefing Thursday morning, U.S. Forest Service Chief Robert Garcia said there was "a tremendous firefight to protect lives and property" last night after the flames jumped Pine Canyon Road. Weather conditions early Thursday morning helped out, he said, but noted it'll be a rough battle ahead:

"It will be a major fire for several days. The current weather that we started with this morning has helped buy us some time to get some relief crews out there and start developing some further control anchor points in numerous points along this fire."

Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby said crews will be working all day to increase containment as authorities brace for temperatures to climb through the weekend and into next week.

"It's going to be a hot, dry summer, and it's going be a very, very hot, dry weekend," he said.

The fire ignited in an area that officials said hadn't burned since 1968. Even though there were minimal winds, a combination of the steep canyons and dry brush turned it into what one official called "a recipe for rapid fire growth."

COVID-19 was a complicating factor for those forced to evacuate. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, traditional shelter space cannot be set up, so the designated shelters were really just parking lots where people could remain in their cars.

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The fire burned over a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail, according to this fire map, and the north end of the fire blew through Pine Canyon Road.

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A firefighting helicopter performs a water drop over the Lake Fire on Wednesday in Lake Hughes. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

THE BASICS

  • Acreage: 10,500 acres
  • Containment: 0%
  • Structures threatened: 5,420
  • Structures destroyed: 3
  • Resources deployed: 1,059 firefighters

MANDATORY EVACUATIONS

  • Lake Hughes Road west of Pine Canyon and north of Dry Gulch Road
  • Everything east of Ridge Route Road
  • Everything west of Lake Hughes Road and Fire Station 78
  • Everything north of Pine Canyon and Ridge Route Road
  • Everything south of Highway 138

EVACUATION CENTERS

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For people (due to public health guidelines, evacuees must remain in their cars):

  • Highland High School | 39055 25th St., West Palmdale
  • Castaic Sports Complex | 31230 Castaic Road

For animals:

  • Castaic Animal Care Center (31044 Charlie Canyon Rd)
  • Lancaster Animal Care Center (5210 W. Avenue I)
  • Palmdale Animal Care Center (38550 Sierra Highway)
  • Antelope Valley Fairgrounds - large animals only (2551 W. Avenue H in Lancaster)

ROAD CLOSURES

  • San Francisquito Canyon Road from Slater Lane to Spunky Canyon
  • Lake Hughes Road from Ridge Route Road to Pine Canyon
  • 3 Points Road from Highway 138 to Pine Canyon
  • Old Ridge Route from the 138 to Pine Canyon

WEATHER CONDITIONS

Fire officials said temperatures in the area would be in the 90s and possibly triple digits today, with low humidity. As of Aug. 1, the Angeles National Forest had increased the fire threat from "very high" to "extreme." Parts of the area on fire had not burned since 1968, according to officials.

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THE BACKGROUND

The fire was first reported about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday near Pine Canyon. Fire officials said the fire grew to more than 100 acres in the first few minutes after it ignited. No cause had yet been determined.

SCENES OF THE FIRE

Within an hour of the fire's start, a pyrocumulus cloud had formed, climbing high into the sky. It made smoke visible as far as Santa Cruz Island, roughly 100 miles away.

The tall, intimidating clouds build as extreme heat from the fire causes air to rise, which then cools and condenses as it climbs higher into the atmosphere. That smoke can then spread across hundreds, if not thousands of miles. In some instances thunderstorms can form, which can mean lightning — which can mean even more fires.

HOW WE’RE REPORTING ON THIS

Science reporter Jacob Margolis is reporting on the fire and our infrastructure reporter Sharon McNary is also contributing context about fires. LAist's Mike Roe and Ryan Fonseca are anchoring digital coverage. This is a developing story. In all cases, we strive to bring you the most accurate information in real time and will update this story as new information becomes available.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

For the latest information straight from local emergency officials, check the following websites and social media accounts:

We'll update this story as we learn more.

MORE ON THIS YEAR'S WILDFIRE SEASON:

FIRE RESOURCES

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