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Southern California fire scorches 25,000 acres

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Posted at 10:55 PM, Jun 02, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-03 00:55:04-04
By Dana Ford

(CNN) — A wind-whipped wildfire in Southern California grew to some 25,000 acres on Sunday as hundreds of homes remained under evacuation orders.

The Powerhouse Fire, which is burning in the Palmdale area north of Los Angeles, is about 20 percent contained. According to officials, it has destroyed six homes and threatened as many as 1,000.

“It’s moving so fast, and the smoke is hugging the ground because of the intense wind, and it’s hard to get a map,” incident commander Norm Walker told reporters.

Video from CNN affiliate KABC showed orange flames licking dry green brush. Plumes of white smoke clouded the sky.

The community of Lake Hughes was under a mandatory evacuation order, while that of Lake Elizabeth was under a voluntary one, according to InciWeb, a government fire-tracking website.

Taken together, some 2,8000 people were affected, said Lt. Dave Coleman of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

A shelter opened for those with no where else to go.

“If folks left last night, they will not be able to return. We anticipate that we will not be able to repopulate the area for at least 24 hours, maybe 48,” Coleman said.

Helicopters are helping firefighters on the ground by dropping retardant and water along the perimeter of the blaze.

Inciweb estimated the fire may not be contained until June 10.

Elsewhere in the west, a fire north of Pecos, New Mexico, has scorched more than 7,400 acres and forced the evacuation of some 100 summer homes, according to Denise Ottaviano with New Mexico Fire Information.

That fire, known as the Tres Lagunas Fire, is 0 percent contained.

CNN’s Janet DiGiacomo contributed to this report.

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