Lake Fire reaches nearly 18,000 acres, 12% containment by Sunday

Smoke visible from the Westridge homes in Valencia. The smoke is the result of a fire in Lake Hughes. Signal Staff.

As the large plume of smoke remains visible from the Santa Clarita Valley and beyond, the burned area of the Lake Fire grew to 17,862 acres Sunday, while containment remained at 12%.

The blaze, dubbed the Lake Fire after it began in the Lake Hughes area on Wednesday, quickly burned 10,000 acres in the first day.

By Sunday, 4,570 structures remained threatened, while at least 12 structures and 21 outbuildings had been destroyed, along with three structures damaged, with these figures expected to increase as damage assessments continue to be completed.

While the fire remained active overnight due to poor relative humidity recovery, the acreage had not grown since Saturday evening’s Incident Update.

“Instability impacted the fire area late in the operational period and triggered fire spread due to gusty winds and spotting,” fire officials said in a Sunday morning Incident Update. “Temperatures overnight were mid-70s to- 80s, and very hot and dry conditions are expected again Sunday.” 

On Sunday, temperatures are expected to return to the mid-90s to- 100s, with winds light in the morning before becoming gusty out of the southwest in the afternoon.

The wind and high temperatures are expected to create more instability, which can lead to afternoon thunderstorms and the possibility of more plume-dominated fire behavior. 

On Saturday, more than 100 lightning strikes caused spotting and uphill runs where the strikes occurred, which enlarged several large-scale fires, compromising current and proposed containment lines.

Evacuations remain in effect for Lake Hughes Road, west of Pine Canyon and north of Dry Gulch Road; east of Ridge Route Road; west of Lake Hughes Road and Fire Station 78; north of Pine Canyon and Lake Hughes Road; and south of Highway 138. 

San Francisquito Canyon Road from Stater Lane to Spunky Canyon, 3 Points Road from Highway 138 to Pine Canyon, Old Ridge Route from Highway 138 to Pine Canyon, and Lake Hughes Road from Ridge Route Road to Pine Canyon remain closed. 

In addition, both upper and lower Castaic lakes remain closed through the duration of the fire, as firefighters are using the lake and surrounding areas as a basecamp. 

Castaic Animal Care Center is helping with the evacuations of animals, housing them at their SCV location, according to officials. 

Steep, rugged and inaccessible terrain continue to challenge firefighters and their safety as they work to build containment lines.

More than 1,300 firefighters from both the L.A. County Fire Department and Angeles National Forest’s joint command remain on the scene as of Sunday morning, including 165 fire engines, 21 hand crews, 24 bulldozers, 23 water tenders and 13 helicopters.

The smoke from the Lake Fire and Ranch2 Fire burning in the region has caused unhealthy air quality again on Sunday, according to the L.A. County Public Health Department.

Unhealthy air quality could be damaging to vulnerable groups, and Public Health suggests residents in the SCV take precautions, such as limiting outdoor activity and remaining inside as much as possible. 

“Children and people who have air quality sensitive conditions, such as heart disease, asthma, and other chronic respiratory diseases, should follow these recommendations and stay indoors as much as possible even in areas where smoke, soot, or ash cannot be seen, or there is no smell of smoke,” officials said in a news release.

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