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El Dorado Fire: More Than 13K Acres Burned, More Evacuations Lifted

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This post is no longer being updated. Get the latest news for Saturday: El Dorado Fire: More Than 14K Acres Now Burned

Jump to: Basics | Evacuations | Evacuation Centers | Closures | Additional Resources | Cause
Fire officials say crews are making good progress on the El Dorado Fire, which has been burning in the San Bernardino National Forest near Yucaipa.

Winds were expected to whip up again overnight and into the early morning hours, raising fears the fire could grow once again. Fortunately, it was still holding steady as of about 4 p.m. Friday.

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More evacuation orders were lifted in some parts of Yucaipa, but all areas between Angelus Oaks and Onyx Summit are still off limits as firefighters work to build containment lines just south of those communities. Authorities in Big Bear are also asking visitors to stay out for the time being, in case more evacuation orders are necessary.

Here's what we know about the fire so far today.

THE BASICS

  • Acreage: 13,920 acres
  • Containment: 37%
  • Structures destroyed: four homes, six other structures
  • Structures damaged: two homes, four other structures
  • Structures threatened: 11,000
  • Resources deployed: 1,244 firefighters, including 17 hand crews, 12 dozers, 13 water tenders, six helicopters, and four fixed-wing aircraft

The El Dorado Fire began on Saturday with a bang – literally – when a firework from a gender reveal party in Yucaipa ignited a blaze that has threatened thousands of homes and caused the mandatory evacuation of tens of thousands of residents.
Smoke advisories have been extended through Saturday as unhealthy air quality blankets much of the Southland.

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A pair of firefighters from Orange County Fire Authority Station 18 take a break during the El Dorado Fire. (Sharon McNary/LAist)
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The work in much of the fire perimeter isn’t battling back walls of flame; it’s patrolling, looking for flareups and keeping the fire behind the control lines that they’ve set.

For example, they’ve kept the fire control lines intact behind Mountain Home Village, and along the west slope above Forest Falls, a community of about 700 homes and 1,100 people. If you’re familiar with Forest Falls, the fire has burned into the western portion of Oak Lane. The east end of Oak Lane has a large and modern Christian camp and conference center in there called Forest Home. As of now, it’s unclear if any structures along Oak Lane have been damaged.

You have to kind of hack your way through fire-speak to understand what they are saying about the fight to save these areas. They say: “The continued efforts of fire crews building and reinforcing controls lines as well as structure preparation have allowed for active engagement on the fire by ground resources.”

What they mean is that they got out there early, built their fire breaks using shovels and bulldozers and fire retardant drops, and stayed on top of them so they wouldn’t burn through. They also got behind homes and buildings to clear away plants, trees and patio furniture and other things that might carry fire into them.

And that “active engagement on the fire by ground resources” means firefighters were right there on the front lines pushing the fire back at great risk to themselves and great expense to state and federal taxpayers, because that’s who’s paying for most of these big firefights.

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Did it work? As of this this morning's update, four homes had burned, two were damaged and a number of sheds and other buildings had also been destroyed. That count may be updated later today.

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These close-together homes in Forest Falls were evacuated during the El Dorado Fire, Sept. 10, 2020 (Sharon McNary/LAist)

EVACUATIONS

Riverside County

All evacuation warnings and orders were lifted Thursday afternoon, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

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San Bernardino County

Evacuation orders were lifted Friday afternoon for "all areas east of Jefferson and south of Carter." The Oak Glen area is being reopened for residents, business owners and workers, according to officials.

An interactive map of current evacation zones is available here.

Mandatory (as of 3 p.m. Friday)

  • All Yucaipa residents located east of Bryant, north of Carter, and west of Jefferson
  • All residents located east of Bryant street on Highway 38 including Mountain Home, Forest Falls, Angelus Oak, 7 Oaks and Jenks Lake Area East to Onyx Summit.

Warning (voluntary, but be prepared to leave)

  • North of Carter Street, west of Bryant Street, south of Highway 38, east of Garnet Street. Officials advised those who may need extra time to mobilize, along with those with pets and livestock, to evacuate now.

EVACUATION CENTER

  • Cafeteria of the Redlands East Valley High School, 31000 E. Colton Ave. Redlands

ROAD CLOSURES (as of 10 a.m. Friday)

  • Highway 38 is closed between Bryant St. to the south and Lake Williams Dr. to the north
  • Topaz St. is closed at Bryant St. to eastbound traffic
  • Juniper Ave. is closed at Bryant St.
  • Carter St. is closed at Bryant St.
  • Ivy is closed at Bryant St.
  • Northbound Fremont St. is closed at Oak Glen Rd.
  • Eastbound Oak Glen Road is closed at northbound Cherry Croft
  • Eastbound Oak Glen Road is Closed at Casablanca
  • Oak Glen Rd. is closed at Wildwood Cyn.
  • Pendleton Rd. is Closed at Oak Glen Rd.
  • Fremont St is closed at Carter St.

CAUSE

The family behind the party where authorities say a pyrotechnic device was set off tried to put out the fire and called 911, but it was too late. They have cooperated with authorities, but Cal Fire spokesperson Captain Bennett Malloy says it's possible they could face misdemeanor charges:

"Some of the laws they could have broken: a public resource code where you cause a fire on somebody else's land, or, in California under a penal code, there's provisions for what's called recklessly causing a fire. And that may be the case with this fire, but that would be up to the district attorney to determine."

Prosecutors could pursue felony charges if someone is hurt or killed, or if homes are damaged by the fire. Though no charges had been filed yet.

HOW WE’RE REPORTING ON THIS

Ryan Fonseca gathered updated information about this fire, with additional feeds from reporter Sharon McNary and newsroom staff.

This is a developing story. We fact check everything and rely only on information from credible sources (think fire, police, government officials and reporters on the ground). Sometimes, however, we make mistakes and/or initial reports turn out to be wrong. In all cases, we strive to bring you the most accurate information in real time and will update this story as new information becomes available.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

For the latest information straight from local emergency officials, check the following websites and social media accounts:

FIRE RESOURCES

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