So Cal wildfire: San Bernardino Fire

Published: June 19, 2015

So Cal wildfire: San Bernardino Fire, A rapidly growing wildfire in the San Bernardino Mountains south of Big Bear Lake burned just over 15.6 square miles and prompted mandatory evacuations on Thursday, authorities said.

The so-called “Lake Fire” was reported Wednesday around 4 p.m. and was burning east of Camp De Benneville Pines south of Jenks Lane Road (map), according to the InciWeb, a multi-agency website that provides updated information on large fires on federal land.

Smoke was towering over the San Bernardino National Forest’s Barton Flats Visitor Center, where a fire command post was set up.

“It’s extremely steep, treacherous terrain up there. It’s up in the wilderness. There’s lots of down and dead fuel, vegetation,” said Brian Grant of the U.S. Forest Service. “There’s a lot of fire up there.”

As of 10 p.m. Thursday, the blaze had grown to 10,000 acres and remained just 5 percent contained, the site stated.

The flames, which were largely fueled by timber and grass, were spreading at a moderate-to-rapid rate, according to InciWeb.

Grant said there were no significant fires on record for the area, so there was a lot of fuel available.

The timber fire was particularly challenging for firefighters, who were faced with the threat of entrapment, said Chon Bribiescas of the U.S. Forest Service.

San Bernardino County fire crews described the blaze’s behavior as “erratic” and “extreme.” The fire grew from 100 to 1,000 acres overnight, then to 1,500 by mid-morning. The acreage estimate then quintupled in about three hours.

Evacuations were ordered for 20 to 25 residences off of Rainbow Lane in Onyx Summit, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department tweeted.

Evacuations were also in effect for several camps, including Camp de Benneville Pines, Camp Ta Ta Pochon, Camp Alpine Meadows, Camp Edwards and Camp Tulakes. Nearly 200 people were impacted by the evacuation orders, according to fire officials.

Children from the summer camps were taken to Citrus Valley High School in Redlands, where they were reunited with their parents.

Structures were also threatened in the area, according to InciWeb.

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