Lake Fire near Lake Hughes, CA was very active Friday and Saturday

Spreading to the northeast

UPDATED August 15, 2020  |  6:17 p.m. PDT

Lake Fire smoke pyrocumulus
Lake Fire 11:55 a.m. PDT August 15, 2020.

The Lake Fire west of Lancaster, California is up to its old pyrocumulus tricks again as you can see in the photo above taken just before noon Saturday. In the afternoon it was very active and in one location forced firefighters to withdraw to a safer location.

Fire photographer Jeff Zimmerman said, “We are getting hundreds of down strikes to the north of the fire.” This can happen under certain conditions when extreme fire behavior creates a massive pyrocumulus cloud that can generate lightning. The phrase “a fire can create its own weather” is overused, but creating its own lighting is an example.

On Friday it made a three-mile run to the northeast down into the Antelope Valley but firefighters were able to keep it from crossing the California Aqueduct.

map lake fire lancaster california wildfire
The red line was the perimeter of the Lake Fire at 4:10 a.m. PDT August 15, 2020. The white line was the perimeter about 24 hours before.

Air Tanker 944, the 747, was over the fire at 11:45 a.m. Saturday and returned to San Bernardino. As this was being written at 1:35 p.m. Saturday the aircraft was again en route to the same general area, probably to drop another 17,500 gallons.

August 14, 2020 | 4:15 p.m. PDT

Lake Fire
Lake Fire from Loop1 camera, looking N-NW at 4:21 p.m. PDT August 14, 2020.

The Lake Fire in southern California near Lake Hughes 17 miles west of Lancaster was very active again Friday afternoon. It is well established east of Pine Canyon road and at 4:30 p.m. was moving to the northeast approaching the California Aqueduct in the Antelope Valley.

Early Friday morning the Lake Fire was mapped at 11,637 acres.

To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the Lake Fire, including the most recent, click HERE.

Map of the Lake Fire
3-D Map of the Lake Fire, looking southwest at 2:58 a.m. PDT August 14, 2020.
Map of the Lake Fire
Map of the Lake Fire at 2:58 a.m. PDT August 14, 2020. The arrows show one of the locations where there was significant spread on Friday.

Lake Fire spreads 7 miles in 12 hours, burns over 12,000 acres

The fire is 15 miles west of Lancaster, California

Updated August 13, 2020 | 10 a.m. PDT

Map of the Lake Fire
Map of the Lake Fire at 4:04 a.m. PDT August 13, 2020. USFS

The Lake Fire started August 12, 2020 between Castaic Lake and Lake Hughes in southern California. When the first units arrived on scene the fire was about 100 acres burning on both sides of Lake Hughes Road, spreading to the northeast.

It was reported at 3:40 p.m. and within 29 minutes was creating pyrocumulus clouds indicating extreme fire behavior. It is very unusual for a fire to grow that quickly with that intensity.  Three and one half hours after it was reported the size was estimated at 10,000 acres. The rapid spread was aided by burning embers starting spot fires one mile ahead. A map released by fire officials with data from 4:04 a.m. Thursday indicated the fire had burned 12,681 acres. (At 7:10 a.m. Thursday PDT the Angeles National Forest Twitter account said it was 10,500 acres.) At that time the northeast end was on the slopes leading down to the desert after crossing Pine Canyon Road.

(To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the Lake Fire, including the most recent, click here.)

“It’s pretty explosive fire behavior,” said Angeles National Forest Fire Chief Robert Garcia. “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.”

Lake Fire August 12, 2020
Lake Fire August 12, 2020, by Bill Neckels.

The records of a weather station at Elizabeth Lake showed that the fire was pushed to the northeast by a 7 to 13 mph wind gusting at 15 to 22 mph, with relative humidity in the teens and temperature in the low 90s. Western U.S. firefighters would not consider the weather conditions extreme. This begs the question, what kind of fire behavior will Santa Ana winds bring in the next several months?

Early in the incident, fire officials considered the possibility of the fire impacting homes along Pine Canyon Road, almost six miles to the northeast, and that it could keep going into the desert to the east. The Incident Commander placed orders for strike teams of Type 1 engines for structure protection, with 5 engines in each strike team. The orders were placed in multiples of 5 and 10 as the fire rapidly spread. By 6 p.m. a total of 20 strike teams, 100 engines, had been requested. The fire crossed Pine Canyon Road at about 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Evacuations were ordered along Pine Creek Road and for the community of Lake Hughes as well as other areas, affecting about 100 homes. Traffic on the road became very congested as large numbers of media vehicles, fire apparatus, and evacuees tried to occupy the space at the same time. Fire officials requested that all media leave the area in order to reduce the congestion.

Weather conditions moderated after 10 p.m. Wednesday with much calmer winds of less than 4 mph, but there was little humidity recovery, hovering around 20 percent during the night. The forecast for Thursday is for 92 degrees, 18 percent relative humidity, and variable winds generally out of the west at 9 to 15 mph gusting at 20 to 24 mph. There is a 15 percent chance of rain.

The Lake Fire is burning in an area that hasn’t burned since 1968, according to fire officials. The fire started in brush at about 2,300 feet and as it approached Pine Canyon road at over 4,000 feet it got into heavier fuels.

Firefighters, media, and residents were all trying to evacuate or withdraw at the same time.

Lake Fire spreads rapidly near Lake Hughes, California

Evacuations are in effect

August 12, 2020 | 7:29 p.m. PDT

map Lake Fire Lake Hughes California
Map showing the approximate location of the Lake Fire in southern California, at 5:30 p.m. PDT August 12, 2020.

A very rapidly spreading fire broke out Wednesday afternoon in the Angeles National Forest about 19 miles west of Lancaster, California. When units first arrived the fire was about 100 acres burning on both sides of Lake Hughes Road, spreading to the east and northeast.

(To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the Lake Fire, including the most recent, click here.)

At 5:50 p.m. firefighters reported it was generating spot fires one mile ahead and had already grown to about 7,000 acres;  at 7:05 p.m. the estimate increased to about 10,000.

At 6 p.m. the Incident Commander ordered additional strike teams of  Type 1 fire engines for structure protection to bring the total up to 20. With five engines per strike team, that is 100 engines. Evacuations are in effect.

At 7:05 p.m. the fire had crossed Pine Canyon Road and was well established on the east side.

Lake Fire
Lake Fire from Loop, at 6-49 p.m. PDT August 12, 2020


Aircraft over the Lake Fire
Aircraft over the Lake Fire at 7:26 p.m. PDT August 12, 2020. The green line is the track of the King Air in the photo, probably serving as a lead plane. FlightRadar24

Lake Fire near Castaic Lake in Southern California

Above: the Lake Fire burns near a dozer line near Castaic Lake in Southern California. Screen grab from Los Angeles County Fire Department video.

(Originally published at 11:01 p.m. PDT June 17, 2017)

Firefighters in Southern California are battling a wildfire that started east of Interstate 5 near Castaic Lake north of Santa Clarita. As the sun was setting Saturday evening firefighters estimated that it had burned at least 1,000 acres, spreading from County land near the lake into the Angeles National Forest .

The fire was first reported at about 2 p.m. PDT on Saturday. Two small outbuildings were reportedly destroyed.

Some firefighters were transported across the lake in boats, according to the Angeles National Forest.

Lake Fire map
Map showing the approximate location of the Lake Fire north of Castaic Lake in Southern California, Jun e17, 2017.
Lake Fire, June 17, 2017. Los Angeles County FD photo.

Lake Fire, east of San Bernardino, California

(UPDATE at 10:53 a.m. PT, June 26, 2015)

map of Lake Fire
Map of the Lake Fire. Both lines show the perimeter at about 11 p.m. The yellow line is from June 24, while the red line is from June 25. (click to enlarge)

The Lake Fire east of San Bernardino, California grew by about 7,000 acres over the last couple of days. The incident management team now puts the size at 29,813 acres.

The fire remains active on the northeast side. On Thursday the fire made a push north to the Heartbreak Ridge area and east to Three Sisters Peaks.

Firefighting resources on scene include, 153 engines, 4 air tankers (including one DC-10), 18 helicopters, 4 support fixed wing planes, 54 hand crews, 18 water tenders, 8 dozers, and 2,116 personnel.

Mandatory evacuations include: areas along Hwy 38 east of Angelus Oaks, Barton Flats, Seven Oaks, South Fork, Heart Bar, Rainbow Lane, Burns Canyon, and Rimrock. A voluntary evacuation is in place for Pioneertown.


(UPDATE at 8:58 a.m. PT, June 25, 2015)

Late Wednesday night, June 24, the San Bernardino County Sheriff Department initiated a mandatory evacuation for the Burns Canyon and Rimrock areas.

Lake Fire map June 25, 2015
Lake Fire map, released at 4:15 a.m. PT, June 25, 2015. It is not clear what time before that the perimeter data was current. Note that the heavy black line indicates the only completed fireline. (click to enlarge)
Lake Fire Map 1210 am PT June 25 2015
Lake Fire Map. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 12:10 am PT, June 25 2015. The solid red line was the fire perimeter at 11 p.m. on June 23. (click to enlarge)

The map above shows the fire perimeter at 11 p.m on June 23 (the red line), and the red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 12:10 a.m. PT, June 25. This shows a large growth of the fire in the last 24 hours. The satellite data indicates more fire spread to the east than the official map. Friday morning the incident management team reported that the fire has burned 23,199 acres.


(UPDATE at 8:14 p.m. PT, June 24, 2015)

Map of the Lake Fire
Map of the Lake Fire, 5:09 p.m. PT, June 24, 2015.

Wednesday afternoon approximately 360 campers were safely evacuated from Camp Oakes in the Lake Williams Area. This was a precautionary evacuation due to the large number of campers.

The fire remains active on the northeast end. On Wednesday the fire made a push north toward the Rainbow Lane Area but so far no structures have been lost. The southern portion of the fire burned into the headwaters of the North Fork of Whitewater, and may continue to burn to the south. Fire spread is primarily through burning material rolling downhill and reigniting ground fuels, which burn back uphill. Hotshot crews will remain camped out along this area over the coming days.

Wednesday evening, June 24, a hobby drone flown over the Lake Fire caused a safety problem, requiring all firefighting aircraft to be grounded, according to CAL FIRE Public Information Officer Daniel Berlant.

A collision between a drone and a helicopter or fixed wing aircraft could be fatal if it damages the windshield, the engine, props, or rotors.

The Incident Management Team reports that the Lake Fire has burned 20,874 acres. The number of personnel on the fire has increased to 1,922.

Tankers 911 and 912
Tankers 911 and 912, both DC-10s, at an air tanker base near the Lake Fire. Undated InciWeb photo.

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