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Cost to fight Powerhouse fire estimated at $11.5 million

Powerhouse Fire (2013)FEMA

A wildfire that has been burning since last week in Santa Clarita has cost an estimated $11.4 million to fight, U.S. Forest Service officials said Wednesday.

The Powerhouse fire, which started Thursday northwest of Castaic Lake, has burned 32,032 acres and is 65% contained.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency pledged this week to cover up to 75% of the costs to fight the blaze.

Firefighters are confident they've endured the worst of the blaze and should have it under control in the coming days, according to U.S. Forest Service.

Crews have begun returning to their respective cities with enough firefighters staying behind to put out hot spots and protect an estimated 275 structures that remain threatened. Sixteen buildings have been destroyed.

The fire more than doubled in size over the weekend, encouraged by hot temperatures, low humidity and strong winds that swirled through the hillsides around Elizabeth Lake and Lake Hughes.

The flames were fed by brittle, dry fuel that hadn't burned for up to 80 years in some places, officials said.

A shift in the winds in the last couple of days pushed the fire northwest toward Lancaster, where firefighters made the most progress in reining it in.

All evacuations have been lifted and Lake Hughes, Elizabeth Lake and the Fairmont area of Antelope Acres are open to residents.

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Joseph.serna@latimes.com

@josephserna

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Powerhouse Fire (2013)FEMA
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