The buzz around town is that this year's fireworks display over Big Bear Lake was the best extravaganza ever. (Photo courtesy Danny Enger)

Big Bear Valley, CA — This year’s Fourth of July weekend in the Big Bear Valley was marred by the July 5 drowning of an 18-year-old from Yucca Valley, though, given the influx of crowds here for the holiday, local law enforcement and fire agencies report that it was a relatively calm weekend. In addition to an extra 20 deputies on patrol, the Big Bear Sheriff’s Station’s law enforcement efforts included boat patrol, bike patrol, reserves on duty, and the volunteers of the Citizens on Patrol and Sheriff’s Explorers. Sheriff’s Captain Greg Garland’s crew made 11 DUI arrests and two for boating under the influence; there was also one assault with intent to rape and one rape over the weekend, though officials tell KBHR that both of these incidents were between acquaintances, neither of whom are local. Within the Big Bear Valley, there were also several traffic-related incidents, and a few injuries and searches for lost tourists on the San Bernardino National Forest. Other incidents included petty thefts, given belongings left behind on the lakeshore or in vehicles but, all told, Captain Garland tells KBHR, “While we had a large number of people in town and traffic was heavier, we had relatively few incidents over the weekend.”
Local fire agencies attended to at least 27 medical aid calls, both on land and water, and extinguished some small open fires that had been reported by locals. For this, Big Bear City Fire Chief Jeff Willis expresses a thank you to the Big Bear community, for helping the fire departments in being their eyes and ears for activities that are known to be illegal.
The California Highway Patrol officers of the Arrowhead division report a total collision count of seven for the entire mountain; of these, one was a solo DUI collision, another was a collision between an intoxicated bicyclist and some pedestrians. Two CHP Officers, Rodman and Jedlick, went above and beyond the call of duty late Saturday night, July 3, with Big Bear Lake Fire Chief Rod Ballard noting, “What they did was brave.” The two responded to a call near Lakeview Point on the Arctic Circle portion of Highway 18 after 11pm; a woman in her mid-40s had gotten out of a vehicle to relieve herself roadside, and ended up tumbling about 100 feet down the mountainside. The two CHP officers, later joined by fire departments from Arrowbear, Green Valley Lake and Running Springs, made their way down the rocky drop to retrieve the woman, who sustained multiple injuries, in what would be a roughly two-hour rescue operation.
The Big Bear Municipal Water District reports heavy activity, post-fireworks, along the North Shore ramps, though boating activity on the Fourth of July did not break the record set on Friday the Fourth, 2008, when a record 1,000 boats were estimated to be on Big Bear Lake in the 3 o’clock hour.