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El Dorado Blaze Sparked By Gender Reveal Firework Threatens Thousands Of Homes

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The El Dorado Fire broke out Sept. 5, 2020, in the San Bernardino National Forest. Zach Behrens/Courtesy of US Forest Service
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Editor's note: This story is no longer being updated. For our latest coverage of the El Dorado Fire, click here.

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 grown to more than 9,600 acres, threatening thousands of homes and causing the mandatory evacuation of 21,000 residents.

In a press release about the cause, Cal Fire reminded the public that it doesn't take much to start a fire, and "those responsible for starting fires due to negligence or illegal activity can be held financially and criminally responsible."

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The blaze is still fast-moving.

“The fire is predominantly going in the northeastern direction,” said Kathy Mattingly, a public information officer with Cal Fire San Bernardino. “We’ve been dealing with 12 to 15 mile per hour gusts in the lower elevations, with gusts of up to 25 miles per hour at the ridgeline.”

Poor air quality and extreme heat are also working against the crews.

She said firefighters' priority remains the protection of the thousands of homes that are threatened, as well as small ranches and barns in the foothills.

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Mattingly warned that more evacuation orders could be issued, depending on the fire's behavior.

“This is still an expanding situation,” she said. “If you’re in an evacuation warning area, we ask that you gather your belongings. If you have livestock, evacuate them early, maybe to a friend’s ranch in another area that is safe.”

On Saturday, firefighters had to deal with intense conditions, causing this fire whirl:

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THE BASICS

  • Acreage: 9,671 acres
  • Containment: 7%
  • Resources deployed: 527 personnel, 10 crews, 10 water tenders, 60 engines, 10 dozers, 4 helicopters

EVACUATIONS

Mandatory:

  • Areas east of Bryant from Carter South to Yucaipa Boulevard, then east on Yucaipa Boulevard at Bryant intersection to Freemont Street, then south to Grande View Drive, then along Ave E southeast to the intersection of Mesa Grande, east to Wildwood Canyon Road to include all portions of Hidden Meadows, and east to Edgar Canyon Road
  • The portion of the Cherry Valley Community that is north of Orchard Street to the County Line, and east of Nancy Avenue and west of Beaumont Avenue
  • Oak Glen (partial, see road closures), Mountain Home Village, Forest Falls and North Bench Yucaipa (north of Carter Street to Highway 38 and both sides of Bryant Street east & west)

Voluntary:

  • East of Beaumont Ave east to Hillside Place in the Highland Springs area, north to Cherry Valley Boulevard to the County Line Road.

EVACUATION CENTER

  • Cafeteria of the Redlands East Valley High School, 31000 E. Colton Ave. Redlands
  • NOTE: This center moved from it's initial location: Yucaipa Community Center, 34900 Oak Glen Rd, Yucaipa

ROAD CLOSURES:

  • Highway 38 at Bryant Street in Yucaipa and the community of Angelus Oaks
  • Bryant Street between Hwy 38 and Carter Street
  • Oak Glen Road between Pine Bench Road and Cherry Croft Drive
  • Cross Streets east of Bryant Street between Yucaipa Boulevard and Carter Street
  • There is a "soft closure" on Highway 38 at Lake Williams Dr. (south of Big Bear, CA) to warn drivers of the closure in Angelus Oaks

HOW WE’RE REPORTING ON THIS

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.

FIRE RESOURCES

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