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El Dorado Fire: Nearly 16,490 Acres Burned, Containment At 53%

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This story is no longer being updated. Follow our coverage of the El Dorado Fire for Tuesday, Sept. 15>>

The El Dorado Fire continues to burn in the San Bernardino Mountains near Yucaipa, forcing evacuations of thousands of homes. Tonight, officials said residents of Mountain Home needed to continue to stay away from homes while work continued on downed power lines.

Here's what we know about the blaze so far today:

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THE BASICS

  • Acreage: 16,490
  • Containment: 53%
  • Evacuations: 3,467 homes
  • Structures destroyed: four homes, six other structures
  • Structures damaged: two homes, four other structures
  • Structures threatened: 1,047
  • Personnel: 1,319 firefighters
  • Injuries: 10

The El Dorado Fire began on Saturday, September 5, 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.
Firefighters are continue to cut firelines, and are getting support from helicopters and planes to slow the blaze's progress.

Hand crews are building a contingency line between Highway 38 and the 2015 Lake Fire burn scar, while other crews do similar work along Mill Creek from Vivian Creek to the burn scar of last month’s Apple Fire.

Crews are also holding the line near Forest Falls and continue to patrol and mop up hot spots.

"Firefighters remain in position to provide structure protection with direct hose lines while increasing defensible space," officials wrote in an update on the incident page.

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Just before 1 p.m. today, officiala said the fire is actively burning south of Highway 38 in the areas of Barton Flats and Angelus Oaks. Residents are advised to monitor emergency officials' Twitter accounts for potential updates to evacuation orders.

Highway 38 remains closed between Bryant Street and Lake Williams Drive.

San Bernardino National Forest — along with all other national forests in California — remains closed.

EVACUATIONS

Mandatory evacuations remain in effect for the following communities (detailed map here):

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  • Mountain Home Village
  • Forest Falls
  • Angelus Oaks
  • Seven Oaks
  • Barton Flats / Jenks Lake Area east to Onyx Summit

On Monday morning, San Bernardino National Forest officials had a message for residents in the Angelus Oaks area who were still at their homes: get out now.

A Red Cross evacuation center is open at the Redlands East Valley High School, 31000 E. Colton Ave.

All evacuation orders and warnings have been lifted for residents in Yucaipa, Oak Glen and Mentone. Officials are asking residents to use caution as they return to their homes due to the emergency crews still working in the area.

WEATHER CONDITIONS AND AIR QUALITY

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A smoke plume from the El Dorado Fire rises above the San Bernardino National Forest on Monday, Sept. 14, 2020. (Courtesy Southern California Edison)

"Low humidities and less smoke will result in more active fire behavior today," fire officials said.

Warm and dry conditions are expected in the burn area today, a trend that will continue over the next few days, according to officials.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District has extended a smoke advisory to Tuesday as unhealthy air continues to blanket much of the L.A. Basin and Inland Empire. It's not just local fires though; smoke is also making its way to us from wildfires in Northern California, Oregon and Washington.

Smoke is expected to linger in the basin and valley areas overnight, but officials say it will continue to clear up through tomorrow afternoon, thanks to south-blowing winds.

Look up the latest air quality info for your area at airnow.gov.

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

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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