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10,000-acre brush fire burns near Lake Hughes; mandatory evacuations ordered

A fast-moving, 10,000-acre brush fire near Lake Hughes triggered evacuations in northern Los Angeles County late Wednesday.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department was alerted to the fire near North Lake Hughes Road and Pine Canyon Road about 3:30 p.m., according to Marvin Lim, a spokesman with the department. Within the next few hours it exploded to thousands of acres.

The fire was at 0% containment as of 9 p.m. Several residential structures, including ranches, were threatened. Officials said there were no reports of homes being destroyed or damaged.

As of about 11:30 pm, evacuation orders had been issued for residents south of Highway 138 and north of Pine Canyon Road and Lake Hughes Road. They also included the areas west of Lake Hughes Road and LA County Fire Station 78, and east of Ridge Route Road.

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An evacuation point was opened at Highland High School in west Palmdale where residents could stay in their cars and at the Castaic Sports Complex. Animals may be brought to the Castaic Animal Care Center, the Lancaster Animal Care Center and the Palmdale Animal Care Center. Large animals only will be accepted at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds.

Road closures included 3 Points Road from Highway 138 to Pine Canyon Road and Ridge Route Road from Highway 138 to Pine Canyon Road. They also encompassed Lake Hughes Road from Ridge Route Road to Pine Canyon Road and San Francisquito Canyon Road from Slater Lane to Spunky Canyon.

More than 500 firefighters, as well as several helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, have been deployed to the scene with assistance provided by the L.A. County Fire Department, the Angeles National Forest, and numerous fire departments in the area.

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“This is a major fire, we’ll be here through the night,” said David Richardson, the chief deputy of emergency operations for the L.A. County Fire Department. “It’s very resource-tasking and we’ll also be out here for multiple days to come.”

The smoke plume from the fire could be seen as far away as Venice.

The combination of thick vegetation that hasn’t burned in several decades and hot and dry windy conditions are fueling the fire, according to Seneca Smith, a public information officer with the Angeles National Forest. She said she expects continued growth overnight.

Officials will face challenging weather conditions over the coming days. The National Weather Service has issued excessive heat warnings that will take effect throughout Southern California on Friday and remain in place through Monday evening.

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The cause of the fire is unknown.


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