- Lake Fire spreads at unprecedented rate
- Evacuation and structures threatened
- Response to the fire
- Shelter for those affected
- Horrible times for natural disasters
Lake Fire spreads at unprecedented rate
On Thursday August 13th, firefighters rushed to contain the Lake Fire in Los Angeles burning near Lake Hughes in the Angeles National Forest in order to protect local civilians and their homes. A few hours after the fire had been reported at around 3:45PM, it spread at an unexpectedly quick rate due to the hot temperatures. In two hours, the fire spread from 50 acres to 10,000 acres.
Evacuation and structures threatened
Evacuations have been ordered by the Los Angeles County Sheriff, covering about 100 homes, over concerns of the fire flaring up due to the incoming Southern California heat wave. By Thursday, the fire had spread to 10,500 acres. Within and near evacuation zones, the Los Angeles Fire Department reported that around 5,000 to 5,420 structures were threatened by the fire according to ABC news and CBS news. At least 100 structures were affected by the evacuation orders and at least 3 structures have been officially reported as destroyed. However, Eyewitness News reported much more buildings may have been destroyed by the fire.
Although this specific region has experienced fires before such as the Powerhouse fire of 2013, fire officials noted that this fire is unusual due to its early development in the fire season and the high rate at which the fire spread without the presence of strong winds. Additionally the fire is unique as it is burning in areas that have not been on fire since 1968.
Angeles National Forest Fire Chief Robert Garcia stated, “It’s typically what we see a little bit later in the season and often driven by wind. The fuel, moisture conditions and the fire at this particular location with the slope, it really created the recipe for rapid fire growth.”
The Lake Fire has not yet resulted in injuries or deaths. Additionally, the cause of the fire is still currently unknown. Fire officials have narrowed down the starting point of the fire and the point has been blocked off as fire officials investigate the cause.
Response to the fire
The severity of the fire has mobilized more than 1,000 officials in attempts to fight the fire and to protect and provide shelter for civilians affected. Authorities and officials from the Angeles National Forest, the cities of Los Angeles, Huntington Beach, Culver City, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica fire departments have been working with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to help evacuate residents near the fire.
500 firefighters are already at the scene of the natural disaster attempting to contain the fire. Firefighting aircrafts are also being mobilized to fight the fire. There has been evidence that the fire created so much force that several “fire tornadoes” had formed.
The Los Angeles Fire Department stated the inferno “will continue to grow and threaten surrounding areas of Lake Hughes, Leona Valley, Lake Elizabeth, Pine Canyon and Three Points.”
Chief Robert Garcia of the US Forest Service said, “This will be a major fire for several days”. The fire is currently still at 0% containment.
Shelter for those affected
Evacuation points were set up at Highland High School. The Antelope Valley Fairgrounds and the Castaic Fairgrounds have been converted into spaces to provide shelter for larger animals affected by the fire.
Horrible times for natural disasters
The natural disaster strikes Los Angeles county at an extremely inconvenient time as the city scrambles to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus as well. Los Angeles County has 215,000 of the 600,000 confirmed cases and 5,109 of the 10,868 confirmed deaths in California as of August 13 as cases continue to rise.
Additionally, California is also fighting 15 other active wildfires throughout the state.