A plume of smoke visible beyond the north end of the Santa Clarita Valley on Wednesday was the result of a growing fire in Lake Hughes that quickly devoured 10,000 acres and left firefighters from multiple agencies strategizing to develop an overnight plan to protect structures in the area.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies began evacuating residents east of Old Ridge Route, west of 3 Points Road, north of Pine Canyon Road and south of Highway 138 just after 8:15 p.m., calling the blaze “extreme fire behavior,” according to a tweet from the department.
Late Wednesday, fire officials said the blaze was unlikely to come into the Castaic area, where officials from numerous agencies were staging a command center in response to the blaze.
During an 8:30 p.m. news conference held at Castaic Lake, Chief Deputy of Emergency Operations David Richardson confirmed the fire had split in two directions: one heading toward Pine Canyon and the other heading toward Lake Hughes.
“You may get a slight down canyon breeze tonight, but it’s not anything that’s going to drive that fire down into this area,” said Richardson.
The fire was first reported near the intersection of Lake Hughes Road and Elizabeth Lake Road at 3:41 p.m.
At 6:34 p.m., Angeles National Forest officials announced the #LakeFire had grown to 10,000 acres.
Within 15 minutes of the original report of a fire, the blaze — burning uphill in a southwest direction — had reportedly grown to 50 acres, and within 45 minutes had grown to 400 acres with the potential to grow to 1,000 acres, according to L.A. County Fire Department officials.
By 5:30 p.m., Marvin Lim, of the L.A. County Fire Department, confirmed the fire had grown to 6,000 acres, and multiple structures were threatened.
The fire was heading northeast, away from Santa Clarita, but firefighters, as of 6:30 p.m., had 0% containment.
Lisa Phillips, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the 18-25 mph winds coming from the southwest pushing the fire northeast would shift at 10 p.m. However, the wind shift would be coming from the northwest, pushing the fire southeast, away from the Santa Clarita Valley.
Both Angeles National Forest and L.A. County firefighter crews were assisting one another in battling the blaze, with air units circling above dropping water and fire retardant.
The fire was approximately 20 miles north of the city of Santa Clarita at the initial report. The fire, given the moniker the #LakeFire, resulted in evacuations of residents living north of the incident.
SCV Sheriff’s Station deputies were dispatched to the area to assist with evacuations.