Firefighters battle to stop California wildfire that forced thousands to flee their homes
Firefighters were gaining the upper hand on a wildfire that erupted on the main interstate between Southern California and Las Vegas this morning, allowing officials to lift evacuation orders for half of 1,500 homes and reopen the freeway to holiday weekend traffic.
The fire began on Friday afternoon on the centre divider of Interstate 15 in the Cajon Pass.
It quickly grew to 1,100 acres, or nearly 2 square miles, jumping the freeway and burning chaparral in rolling hills that form the nearby San Bernardino National Forest and rural areas of San Bernardino County.
The fire was fueled by winds up to 15 mph and 90 degree temperatures, but by dusk cooler weather and calmer winds helped 750 firefighters surround 20 percent of the blaze, U.S. Forest Service spokesman John Miller said.
‘The fire laid down pretty good, firefighters have made very good progress,’ Mr Miller said.
The fire destroyed two mobile homes and damaged two other structures. A firefighter suffered heat exhaustion and another suffered a medical-related injury, he said.
An evacuation was ordered as the fire moved northwest toward large ranch homes in the Oak Hills area.
Fire crews were placed to defend the houses as the flames came within yards of some of them.
By evening, authorities determined it was safe for those who live on the north and west side of the fire to come back.
Mr Miller said firefighters were focused on putting out hot spots and completing containment lines through the night.
Victorville resident Tom Woods told KCAL-TV the Oak Hills area contains hundreds of recently built luxury horse properties spread over the hills, some of which were worth $1 million.
The fire initially closed all freeway lanes, snarling traffic as drivers struggled to start their Labor Day weekend getaways. Nearly all northbound and southbound lanes were reopened by evening.
More than a dozen aircraft, including a DC-10 jumbo jet tanker, were called in to help fight the flames.
Air quality officials predicted that smoke from the fire would cause problems for people with health sensitivities in the San Bernardino and San Gabriel mountain areas.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District urged them to avoid unnecessary outdoor activities. – Mail Online
Be prepared for the worst nature has to offer, not only from the sea and beneath this planet’s surface, but also from the unexpected that lies just ahead.
Jeremiah 15:8 “I made their widows more numerous than the sand of the seas. I brought against the mother of young men a destroyer at noon. I suddenly released on her agitation and terrors.”
Hosea 10:14 “the roar of battle will rise against your people, and all your fortifications will be demolished in a day of war, like Shalman’s destruction of Beth arbel. Mothers will be dashed to pieces along with [their] children.”