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Evacuations Ordered, Roads Closed As 'Explosive' Lake Hughes Brush Fire Spreads To 10,000-Plus Acres

LAKE HUGHES (CBSLA) --  A brush fire quickly scorched thousands of acres on Wednesday in the Angeles National Forest, prompting evacuation orders and road closures in the Lake Hughes area.

The blaze, which has been dubbed the Lake Fire, was reported at about 3:45 p.m. near North Lake Hughes Road and Pine Canyon Road, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

At around 4 p.m., officials said the fire was roughly 50 acres. By 4:30 p.m., the flames burned 400 acres, and the LACFD said it had the potential to reach 1,000 acres. About two hours later, flames quickly spread to about 10,000 acres, with 0% containment.

Fire officials said the blaze is unusual based on it developing earlier in the fire season and the speed at which it spread, with the absence of strong wind.

It is also a history-making event due to some of the areas catching fire for the first time since 1968.

"It's pretty explosive fire behavior," said Angeles National Forest Fire Chief Robert Garcia. "It's typically what we see a little bit later in the season and often driven by wind. The fuel, moisture conditions and the fire at this particular location with the slope, it really created the recipe for rapid fire growth."

High temperatures in the mid-90s and low humidity will bring elevated to brief critical fire weather conditions to the mountains and Antelope Valley as crews continue to battle the flames, officials said.

Lake Fire - Angeles National Forest
(Courtesy: Angeles National Forest/Twitter)

More than 500 firefighters have responded to the fire and 20 strike teams were called out as part of a massive resource request to support structure protection.

Several teams -- including crews from Angeles National Forest, and the cities of Los Angeles, Huntington Beach, Culver City, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica fire departments -- were working with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department to evacuate residents near the fire.

Several mandatory evacuation orders, covering approximately 100 homes, were issued at the following locations:

  • Northwest of Lake Hughes Road and Lake Elizabeth Road
  • West Trail Mountain View Road in Lake Hughes Community
  • South of Highway 138, all the way west to Old Ridge Route, including Pine Canyon community
  • West of Three Points Road
  • North of Pine Canyon Road

An evacuation center was set up at Highland High School in Palmdale at 39055 25th Street, West Palmdale. Due to coronavirus restrictions, officials said evacuees will have to remain in their vehicles outside the school.

Shelters for large animals are also open at the following locations:

  • Castaic Animal Care Center, 31044 Charlie Canyon Road
  • Lancaster Animal Care Center, 5210 W Avenue I
  • Palmdale Animal Care Center, 38550 Sierra Highway
  • AV Fairgrounds, 2551 W Avenue H

Lake Hughes Road was closed from Castaic to Pine Canyon. Road closures continued from 3 Points Road to Pine Canyon Road, Ridge Route to Lake Hughes Road, and San Francisquito Canyon Road, Stator Lane, to Elizabeth Lake.

The cause of the Lake Fire has not yet been determined, and no injuries have been reported.

Officials said they could be out monitoring the fire throughout Wednesday night and possibly for days to come.

For additional information regarding the fire, residents can call the Angeles National Forest Fire Information line at 747-216-0241.

Incident reports about the fire can be monitored here.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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