A fast-moving brush fire quickly scorched about 10,000 acres in the Lake Hughes area Wednesday, burning some structures and prompting a multi-agency effort and mandatory evacuations for at least 100 homes.
The Lake Fire was reported at about 3:30 p.m. near North Lake Hughes Road and Pine Canyon Road in the Angeles National Forest, according to Marvin Lim of 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 and Santa Monica fire departments.
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.
By 4:30 p.m., the flames had burned 400 acres, and officials said the fire had the potential to burn 1,000 acres, according the Los Angeles County Fire Department. That quickly changed two hours later, when the flames exploded across an estimated 10,000 acres, with no containment.
The fire was entirely on federal land as of 6:30 p.m., according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
The sheriff’s department issued mandatory evacuation orders affecting at least 100 homes, and an evacuation center was set up for displaced residents at Highland High School in Palmdale.
“In this evacuation, unfortunately because of COVID protocols, a shelter is not actually established, people will have to stay in their cars,” said Sgt. Ron Schaffer of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
People staying in their cars at the center are allowed to have small animals with them.
Animal boarding was 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., the flames had jumped Pine Canyon Road, two miles west of Lake Hughes Road, and shortly after, flames were seen on aerial footage burning what structures that appeared to be homes in the area.
ABC7 reported at 7:20 p.m. that homes had started to burn in the fire, but fire officials could not confirm, but said structures were threatened in the direction the fire was burning.
The California Highway Patrol set up road closures throughout the area. San Francisquito Canyon Road was closed at Spunky Canyon Road, Pine Canyon Road at Three Points Road and Lake Hughes Road, Three Points Road at Highway 138, Old Ridge Route at Highway 138 and Lake Hughes Road at Ridge Route Road, the CHP reported shortly after 8:30 p.m.