Big Bear Lake, CA, August 9, 2011, 7:00pm – The US Forest Service received a call of smoke in the area of Forest Road 3N12 in the Holcomb Valley area north of Big Bear early Tuesday afternoon, and started a full wildland fire response which includes fire engines, hotshot crews, helicopters and retardant airtankers. According to John Miller of the US Forest Service, San Bernardino County Fire Department as well as Big Bear Lake and Big Bear City Fire Departments also responded to the fire. Firefighters originally estimated the fire at 6-7 acres, burning in steep rocky terrain, surrounded by timber ranging from 130-150 years old. Along with the old timber, a significant amount of standing and downed dead trees presented additional challenges to the firefighters. Once firefighters gained the upper hand on the fire, accurate GPS mapping reduced the size of the fire to 3 acres. While firefighters were able to stop the fire from spreading, control will take several days due to the terrain and heavy fuels. During the peak, over 200 firefighters battled the blaze from the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, CAL FIRE, San Bernardino County Fire, Arrowbear Lake Fire, Big Bear Lake Fire and Big Bear City Fire departments. 10 Fire Engines, 6 hand crews, 5 water tenders, 4 helicopters, 2 airtankers and 1 air attack plane were utilized by fire crews. Residents and visitors to the Big Bear valley could see smoke to the north, as well as the helicopters dipping water from Big Bear Lake during the course of the afternoon. No evacuations were ordered and the threat to the mountain communities was eliminated in short order due to the quick and decisive actions by US Forest Service firefighters and assisting agencies.
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