Update: Powerhouse Fire 70 percent contained

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Update: 7:26 p.m.: Powerhouse Fire 70 percent contained

Firefighters are conducting mop-up operations at the scene of the big wildfire in Angeles National Forest.

U.S. Forest Service spokesman Nathan Judy said Wednesday that there has been smoke but no open flames visible in the 50-square-mile burn area, and firefighters are keeping an eye on unburned fuel inside containment lines.

Moist marine air has been pushing inland at night but days in the high desert region become hot and windy.

Containment increased to 70 percent. Some firefighting resources have been demobilized but most will remain until a containment line extends all the way around the burn area.

Update 7:41 a.m.: 10 more homes found destroyed

More homes have been found destroyed by the Powerhouse Fire in northwestern Los Angeles County, according to U.S. Forest Service spokesman Matt Corelli. The total is up from six to 16 homes destroyed.

Stats on the Powerhouse wildfire as of 7 a.m. Wednesday:

  • Size: 32,032 acres
  • Containment: 65 percent
  • Expected full containment date: Monday, June 10
  • Homes destroyed: 16
  • Resources: 2,000 firefighters, 6 helicopters, 8 fixed wing air tankers, 52 hand crews

The weather Wednesday is expected to include highs in the 90s, with winds between 20 to 35 miles per hour and humidity dropping into the teens.

While L.A. County is already using helicopters to make nighttime water drops over wildfires like the 50-square-mile Powerhouse Fire that destroyed six homes last weekend, the U.S. Forest Service says it’s ready to fly by night to fight wildfires.

The agency said Tuesday that the night-flying program announced in August will begin this month.

They’ll make a modest start with a single water-dropping helicopter stationed in the Angeles National Forest, where the 2009 Station Fire left two firefighters dead and 89 homes destroyed, drawing complaints from politicians and residents over what they called a slow and inadequate response.

The helicopter is also available for fires in and around the Cleveland, San Bernardino and Los Padres national forests.

Forest Service officials have been reluctant to fly in darkness for safety reasons.

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