LAKE HUGHES, Calif. -- Crews Friday morning continued to scramble to protect homes from an 11,000-acre brush fire near Lake Hughes in the Angeles National Forest that prompted evacuations, and officials warned the blaze could flare up again as a blistering heat wave descends on Southern California.
Light winds and scattered thundershowers Thursday helped the firefight, but officials are concerned that the heat wave will trigger more destruction Friday. By Friday morning, the fire was 12% contained.
"It's going to be triple digits out here on the fire line. That's going to be a huge factor... So we have to take care of ourselves. It's also conducive for fire weather," Jake Miller with the L.A. County Fire Department said Thursday evening.
Hundreds of firefighters from the Angeles National Forest, L.A. County Fire Department and several other agencies have been battling the flames, which have consumed huge chunks of the area's rugged slopes.
The Lake Fire was first reported Wednesday afternoon near the intersection of North Lake Hughes Road and Pine Canyon Road and exploded in size, from hundreds of acres to 10,000 after a few hours. Flames raced across ridges and steep slopes.
Fire officials said flames were in some areas that had not burned since 1968.
Mandatory evacuations have been in place since Wednesday. According to L.A. County Fire Department, evacuations were ordered in the area of Lake Hughes Road west of Pine Canyon Road and north of Dry Gulch Road, east of Ridge Route Road, west of Lake Hughes Road and Fire Station 78, north of Pine Canyon and Lake Hughes Road and south of Highway 138.
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Evacuation points were set up at Highland High School at 39055 25th St. West in Palmdale and the Castaic Sports Complex at 31230 Castaic Rd.
Officials said 5,420 structures were threatened and at least 100 structures were affected by the evacuation orders.
Officially, fire authorities have said at least three structures were destroyed. But Eyewitness News observed the ruins of a larger number, possibly a dozen or more buildings damaged or destroyed in the area near Pine Canyon Road. An official assessment of the damage is still underway as the firefight continues.
No injuries have been reported so far.
A statewide Flex Alert calling for Californians to voluntarily turn off their lights and help conserve electricity will be in effect Friday afternoon as dangerous fire conditions are expected through the weekend.
When the fire first erupted Wednesday, it created enough force to make several "fire tornadoes" and flames created an enormous column of smoke seen dozens of miles away.
The cause of the blaze is under investigation. An area believed to be the origin point was blocked off with red tape. It's one of several wildfires burning in the region.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.