The Powerhouse fire continued to threaten hundreds of homes near Lake Hughes on Sunday night as firefighters tried to gain control of the fast-moving and destructive blaze.
The fire had consumed 22,242 acres, and destroyed six homes and damaged nine others. The fire was only 20% contained Sunday night, and firefighters said full containment could be at least a week away.
Crews planned to continue their battle in the dry brush throughout the night, focusing on the northern areas where the flames had spread most rapidly Sunday. They were using bulldozers and hand crews in the effort to expand the containment line.
As night fell, the humidity level rose and the winds started to subside. But they were still blowing at 15 to 20 mph, with gusts up to 40 mph.
Knowing how unpredictable the wind had been throughout the day, fire crews remained vigilant. “As quickly as it died off, it can pick up again,” said Kern County Fire Department spokesman Sean Collins.
On Monday, temperatures in the area are expected to be between 80 and 85 degrees, with 25% to 30% humidity. The winds are expected to be considerably lower in the morning.
The cost of fighting the fire had already reached $2.7 million, Collins said. He added that damage assessment teams were out in the area to see if additional structures or homes had been burned.
More than 1,000 homes in the Lake Hughes and Elizabeth Lake areas were still under evacuation. A Red Cross evacuation center was operating at Marie Kerr Park at 39700 30th Street West in Palmdale. For more information about evacuations, residents can call the Sheriff’s Department in Palmdale at (661) 272-2400.
At the base camp Sunday night, ash-covered trucks dropped off firefighters coming in for a meal and to get some rest. A plume of smoke could be seen rising from the fire.