Crews from several agencies are battling a brush fire in the Lake Hughes area of the Angeles National Forest Wednesday afternoon that has exploded to about 7,000 acres and has prompted mandatory evacuations.
The so-called Lake Fire was reported near Lake Hughes and Pine Canyon roads at about 3:40 p.m. and was threatening structures.
Temperatures were in the mid 90s when the blaze began, officials said.
“The gusty winds, low humidities, and hot temperatures will bring elevated to brief critical fire weather conditions to the mountains and Antelope Valley,” according to a statement on the Angeles National Forest incident page.
Mandatory evacuations have been issued for residents in the area of Lake Hughes Road, west of Pine Canyon and south of Dry Gulch Road, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Additionally, officials ordered road closures at Pine Canyon Road and Highway 138, as well as Pine Canyon Road at Lake Hughes Road.
National Weather Service officials said the blaze was growing at an “extreme rate in steep terrain.” It was first reported at 50 acres and rapidly grew in size. The blaze was 0% contained as of 6:30 p.m.
Aerial video from Sky5 showed intense flames burning along hillsides and trees as heavy smoke was seen in the area.
Aircrafts were making water and retardant drops over the fire, as firefighters battled flames on the ground. Forest officials said crews are making “good progress” on the south side of the blaze near the Cottonwood Campground.
Los Angeles County Fire Department officials said 50 fire engines, 10 battalion chiefs and 210 firefighters are responding “as part of a massive resource request to bolster structure protection.”
As of Aug. 1, the forest changed its fire danger level from very high to extreme, promoting officials to prohibit campfires in developed sites.
Smoke from the Lake Fire could be seen as far as Venice Beach, a photo from Los Angeles County lifeguards showed.
Crews from Los Angeles, Culver City Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Ventura County are assisting in the blaze.
Check back for updates on this developing story.