Hikers reported missing in Powerhouse brush fire found safe

Hikers who were reported missing near a brush fire raging out control in the Angeles National Forest have been accounted for, authorities said Thursday night.

One hiker in the Green Valley area walked out and was safe, fire officials said. Six other hikers also made their way out of the area safely, Lt. Steve Sylvies of the Palmdale sheriff's station told The Times.


An evacuation order for Green Valley was expected to be lifted for residents Thursday night, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said.

The Powerhouse fire had burned about 1,000 acres as more than 500 firefighters continued to battle flames after darkness descended on the area in San Francisquito Canyon near Castaic.

Winds, which earlier the day were gusting more than 20 mph, had calmed down. But firefighters were concerned that warmer temperatures on Friday could dry up vegetation even more.

"Heat is going to be our big enemy," county Fire Department inspector Anthony Akins told The Times.

He said air operations had been suspended for the night but that eight fixed-wing aircraft were expected to resume fire-retardant bombing runs Friday morning.

As the blaze doubled in size from 300 acres Thursday afternoon, the mandatory evacuations were ordered in Green Valley area between San Francisquito Canyon Road and Bouquet Reservoir, the Sheriff's Department said. About 200 people were evacuated, authorities said.

Akins, who was in Green Valley on Thursday night, said in a telephone interview that flames were just a quarter-mile away. "There remains a significant threat," he said.

Earlier in the day, firefighters struggled to stop the wind-stoked flames. The temperature was in the mid-80s, the National Weather Service said.

Crews on the ground worked to cut containment lines, but winds caused spot fires to burn outside of the perimeter, according to fire officials.

As huge clouds of smoke billowed above San Francisquito Canyon on Thursday afternoon, commanders on the ground requested additional firefighters and aircraft to battle the blaze, said Angeles National Forest spokesman Nathan Judy.

At least one structure was consumed as the fire raged across the area. The blaze broke out shortly before 4 p.m. out near a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power facility in San Francisquito Canyon near Drinkwater Reservoir, officials said.

At one point, fixed-wing bombers dropped orange fire retardant as flames burned next to electrical line towers. Some of the lines supply power to Los Angeles, utility officials said. No power outages were reported.

The blaze also forced authorities to close San Francisquito Canyon Road from Copper Hill Drive to Spunky Canyon Road.