San Bernardino National Forest, October 25, 2013 – Today marks the 10-year anniversary of the start of the Old Fire in the San Bernardino National Forest, the largest populated national forest in America. Strong Santa Ana winds fanned the flames, which spread exponentially to the south and west, only to be turned back to the northeast by an approaching cold front. In an unprecedented move, the entire San Bernardino Mountaintop District was evacuated, from Crestline to Big Bear.
As fate would have it, the same front that pushed the fire back into the forest and towards Big Bear, ultimately helped snuff it out, bringing the season’s first rain and snow across the area.
The fire scorched over 91,000 acres, destroyed 993 homes, killed six people and prompted evacuations of over 80,000 people — the largest evacuation in southern California’s modern history. The arson suspect, Rickie Lee Fowler, was later caught, and he remains on death row.
A compilation of video, courtesy ROTWNEWS, appears here.
Thanks to Ben Brissey for research on this story.