El Dorado Fire: 18,000 Acres Burned, Containment At 60%
This story is no longer being updated. Follow our coverage of the El Dorado Fire for Thursday, Sept. 17 >>
The El Dorado Fire continues to burn in the San Bernardino National Forest, forcing evacuations of thousands of homes in mountain communities.
Here's what we know about the blaze so far today:
- Acreage: 18,092
- Containment: 60%
- Structures destroyed: 4 homes, 6 other structures
- Structures damaged: 2 homes, 4 other structures
- Residences evacuated: 3,467
- Structures threatened: 26,031
- Personnel: 1,319 firefighters
- Injuries: 12
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.
Fire officials say the fire is burning at a lower intensity near the Angelus Oaks area, which has been threatened in recent days.
"If conditions change — especially a shift in wind direction or speed — firefighters are prepared to defend Angelus Oaks should the fire begin burning more aggressively," forest officials wrote on the incident page.
To the north, the blaze is approaching Highway 38, and officials say they will use the roadway itself as a fuel-break. That means it will basically become a containment line as crews work to create defensible space along the route.
Firefighters have also built a contigency line near Barton Flats to direct the fire away from that area and toward the burn scar of the Lake Fire, which burned 49 square miles in 2015.
Mandatory evacuations remain in effect for the following communities (detailed map here):
- Mountain Home Village
- Forest Falls
- Angelus Oaks
- Seven Oaks
- Barton Flats / Jenks Lake Area east to Onyx Summit
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.
Big Bear residents are not currently any evacuation warnings or orders, but local officials there have issued a fire advisory, asking residents "to closely monitor the El Dorado Fire, and take appropriate precautions based on your individual circumstances."
Highway 38 remains closed between Bryant Street and Lake Williams Drive.
The San Bernardino National Forest remains closed through Sept. 21 — along with all other national forests in California.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District extended a smoke advisory through Thursday 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.
Onshore winds are expected to clear out some of that smoke from the basins and valleys and push it into the mountains today.
Air Quality Forecast (Wednesday, September 16th): https://t.co/szsyGAFunD— South Coast AQMD (@SouthCoastAQMD) September 16, 2020
🏖 Coastal: Unhealthy for Sens. Gr. -to- Unhealthy
🏙 LA: Moderate -to- Very Unhealthy
🌅 OC: Unhealthy for Sens. Gr.
🌄 Inland Empire: Moderate -to- Unhealthy
🌴 Coachella Valley: Unhealthy for Sens. Gr. pic.twitter.com/0X73Q3MJy2
Look up the latest air quality info for your area at airnow.gov.
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.
For the latest information straight from local emergency officials, check the following websites and social media accounts:
- Every Day Is Fire Season. Here's How Angelenos Can Prepare Right Now
- How To Find Out About Fire Evacuations In Your Area
- How To Keep Yourself Safe From Wildfire Smoke
- The Air Is Brown — Should I Wear A Mask?
- This Is Why Fire Officials Don't Want You To Stay And Defend Your Home
- What Does 'Containment' Of A Fire Mean, Exactly?
- What Does A 'Red Flag Warning' Mean, Exactly?
- What To Do — And Not Do — When You Get Home After A Wildfire
- How To Avoid Getting Towed During LA's Red Flag Parking Restrictions
- If You Want To Help Fire Victims, Resist The Urge To Volunteer
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