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‘Lake Fire’ Burns Through 18,000 Acres of California Forest In Six Days

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A historic forest fire has burned through over 18,000 acres of the Angeles National Forest over the course of six days, fire officials reported on Monday.

The Lake Fire began August 12 at 3:40 p.m., covering about 50 acres of land, but grew to 10,000 acres with 0% containment in a matter of hours, according to the Angeles National Forest service. This was the first time the area had caught fire in 50 years, according to CBS News.

Lake Fire has since consumed a total of 18,526 acres of forest and was 31% contained as of 8 a.m. Monday, according to incident update from the L.A. County Fire Department. It has destroyed 12 structures and 21 outbuildings, damaged three structures and it threatens to destroy over 4,500 other structures in the Lake Hughes area in Los Angeles County, per the incident update.

Nearly 2,000 fire and emergency personnel have responded to Lake Fire, according to the incident update. Assigned resources to combat the fire include 189 engines, 23 water tenders, 26 hand crews, 12 helicopters, and 25 dozers.

The Red Cross of Los Angeles opened up an evacuation center at Highland High School where individuals can “be assessed by Red Cross personnel,” the incident update said. Due to coronavirus restrictions, individuals at the shelter “must remain in vehicles and abide by Los Angeles County Health Orders.”

Mandatory evacuations and several road closures have been ordered in three residential areas of Los Angeles County, including in the Lake Hughes and Pine Canyon communities, per the Lake Fire incident page.

The L.A. County Fire Department, L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, and Angeles National Forest have been providing incident updates through Twitter since the start of Lake Fire.

The cause of the blaze remains unclear, but it is under investigation by the Los Angeles County Fire Department and the United States Forest Service.

The Angeles National Forest issued a directive August 1 prohibiting campfires, smoking, and discharging firearms in the forest after they changed their forest fire danger level from “VERY HIGH” to “EXTREME.” The order applies from August 1, 2020 through February 1, 2021.

The Unified Command for the Lake Fire is holding a public meeting at 6 pm on Monday to “provide a fire operations overview” and will be live-streamed to the public on various social media accounts, per a statement from the Angeles National Forest Service.

The Angeles National Forest is situated between the San Gabriel and Sierra Leone mountain ranges and provides an open space for recreational activities, research, solitude, a haven for wildlife, and other activities, per the “Lake Fire” incident page.

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