Big Bear, CA, July 9, 2015, 11:40am – The Lake Fire has remained at approximately 31,359 acres in size and is 98% contained and is being managed by Jason Winbigler’s Type 3 Team from the San Bernardino National Forest. The fire behavior is currently minimal with heavy fuels smoldering within the perimeter. Smoke may be visible, however it is all well inside the containment lines. It is common for smoke to be visible from inside a fire’s perimeter line for months until a season-ending event occurs, such as weeks of wetting rains or snow. Fire crews and helicopters will continue to be visible to the public and motorists may observe movement of firefighting vehicles along Highway 38. Please be alert while traveling on the highway and yield the right-of-way to emergency personnel and vehicles. All Forest Service lands in the area of the fire remain closed to recreation purposes including the day-use areas of Barton Flats Visitor Center, Greyback Amphitheatre, and Jenks Lake Day Use Site. Campgrounds along Highway 38 are expected to re-open today including Barton Flats, San Gorgonio, South Fork, Skyline, Council, Heart Bar, Oso, Lobo, Heart Bar Equestrian, Wildhorse Equestrian, Coon Creek Cabin, Coon Creek Yellow-post Sites, Mission Springs, Green Spot, and Juniper Springs. And, all hiking trails into the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area remain closed, as well as the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) between Whitewater Preserve to Onyx Summit.
Big Bear, CA, July 3, 2015 – Demobilization of firefighters continues today as a Type 3 incident team gets ready to take over sometime on Sunday. The highest and most rugged terrain at the 10,000 foot level is still being worked by 4 Hot Shot Teams where hot spots and deep layers of fuel are still burning. As islands of fuel burn or as the occasional and isolated tree torching happens, smoke will become visible. For the near future, patrols, satellite imagery and aviation assets will continue to monitor the burn area in order to detect hot spots and take action as containment approaches 100%. Campers may be able to occupy previously closed Lake Fire area camps as early as July 9th depending on containment and rehabilitation progress.
Big Bear, CA, July 3, 2015 – The size of the Lake Fire remains unchanged at 31,359 acres and is 80% contained at this time. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. The estimated cost to date is $37.8 million. Total personnel assigned to the fire is now at 1,203 with 30 engines, 1 dozer, 5 water tenders, and 13 helicopters.
Little heat remains in the fire area and the fire did not grow yesterday. Crews are mopping up hotspots to a depth of two hundred feet or more in many areas of the fire, which creates a buffer between the interior of the fire and the unburned fuels outside the perimeter. This cold-line buffer is referred to as the containment line. Smokes within the containment line might be visible from roads, trails, or residences as interior fuels burn. Heavy fuels, such as down trees and stumps, could continue to burn, producing smoke for several weeks or months.
Crews working in the Onyx Peak area pulled ten thousand to thirteen thousand feet of hose off the fireline yesterday and plan to do the same today. Four chippers and six excavators will be used to reduce the visual and functional effects of suppression activities on the landscape. Crews camping out near the fire line in the San Gorgonio Wilderness will return to base camp tonight after a full shift extinguishing hotspots, cleaning up their campsites, and using leave-no-trace tactics. Helicopters will patrol unstaffed areas of the fire, dropping water and inserting crews as needed to extinguish individual hotspots. CAL FIRE is no longer in unified command with California Incident Management Team 5.
Drier air moving into the area will reduce the threat of rain and thunderstorms. Because of the precipitation and higher relative humidity over the past several days, a new fire start would exhibit moderate, not active, fire behavior. Adequate resources are available through the holiday weekend to handle any initial attack of a new fire start. Temperatures today will be in the mid-70s and 80s and the relative humidity around 30 percent.
Fire crews and helicopters will continue to be visible to the public throughout the holiday weekend. Motorists may observe movement of firefighting vehicles along State Route 38. Please be alert while traveling on the highway and yield the right-of-way to emergency personnel and vehicles.
Big Bear City, CA, July 1, 2015, 11:30 AM – The Lake Fire, now two weeks old, remains at 31,359 acres in the burn zone with 65% containment. Wilderness areas of the fire continue to be the priority in containment efforts. Crews will take advantage of the increase in moisture and extinguish interior hotspots. In the secured areas, the suppression repair and rehabilitation crews will continue to repair the damaged infrastructure and repair the containment lines. Crews made excellent progress in the Rainbow Lane area yesterday. With the likelihood for thunderstorms today, there will be minimal fire behavior expected today but the outflow winds and lightning associated with the thunderstorms continue to pose a safety concern to the firefighters. With Highway 38 open, travelers should keep in mind to use caution and be aware that fire equipment and firefighters could be present for a number of days or even weeks. For the time being, all Forest Service lands within the affected fire area remain closed for recreation purposes. Big Bear Fire is reminding residents and visitors that no fireworks are allowed in the Big Bear Valley and surrounding areas including the safe and sane fireworks sold off the mountain. Fire crews will be on patrol and possibly issuing citations to violators. The Rotary Club of Big Bear will again be providing the fireworks display on the lake on the 4th of July and KBear will provide synchronized music to the show on KBHR 93.3 and 102.5 FM.
Big Bear City, CA June 29, 2015 8:30 PM – The Lake Fire is entering the second week, containment remains at 60% with 30,726 acres in the burn zone. Many fire personnel are reaching their maximum work period of 14 days in a row and will get 2 days off before they are allowed to return. The Incident Command Center at Big Bear High School was still buzzing with activity today as the sun was going down. Even then Hotshot crews were still ushering in, cleaning the soot from their faces and hands then lining up for the chow line. By all accounts the men and women on the Hotshot teams are the “Seals” of the firefighters. They can be described as tough, competitive and hardworking which is an opinion shared by most. The Lake Fire Incident Team will stay in Big Bear for the near future in order to attain 100% containment and proceed with mop up and some restoration work. With that in mind all travelers on highway 38 should use caution and be fully aware that fire equipment and firefighters could be present for a number of days or weeks.
Big Bear City, CA. June 29, 2015 6:50 AM – Overnight there was minimal fire activity in the most remote wilderness areas, 10 acres was added to the now 30,726 total. Containment is now up to 60% as they have tied in the highway 38 corridor from the Jenks Lake area to near the community of Lake William. All mandatory evacuations have been lifted but the camps in the area remain closed to campers. The number of personnel will drop later today from 2236 as some crews will be relieved. Rain is a welcomed event but lighting and exposed fire crews is problematic calling for additional firefighter safety protocols. Todays weather prediction includes thunderstorms which, along with rain and lighting, could produce momentary gusts of 50 MPH making flare up’s possible.
Big Bear City, CA June 28, 2015 7:00 pm – The Lake Fire acreage remained at 30,716 today with containment increasing to 55%. The welcomed rain today delivered around a tenth of an inch on the western portion off the fire where the desert side received no rain at all. Heavy fuels on the ground in the black or burned areas of the fire remained hot and smoldering as such the rain had no effect on cooling them. We are told that flare ups and smoldering areas are possible for weeks or longer as a result of previously described heavy fuels such as large logs or root systems that will continue burning. The total personnel on the Lake fire is 2253. Lighting strikes near ground crews and erratic winds case concerns for crews as continued thunderstorms are predicted for the coming week. When lighting is present or predicted safety protocols mandate that ground crews adjust activities especially if they are exposed on high altitude ridge lines.
Big Bear City, CA June 28, 2015 8:25 am – Structure loss during the Lake Fire has not been in the news until today. Bob Poole of the Forest Service tells KBHR that a single family home and associated out buildings in the Burns Canyon area was recently lost to the fire. A loss assessment crew will later confirm the extent of this structure loss, the first reported in this nearly 10 day old wildfire. The Burns Canyon area remains evacuated. Poole went on to say that thermal imaging cameras have identified hot areas throughout the interior of the fire in the San Gorgonio Wilderness area. Additional thunderstorms are expected bringing with them the possibility of lightning strike fires and erratic winds presenting new challenges for firefighters. Patrols will be sent into the field as needed after lightning strike pinpointing. In addition these monsoon driven thunderstorms storms bring other issues including the possibility of heavy rain, flooding and hillside saturation.
Big Bear City, CA June 28, 2015 6:50 am – The fire containment is now 50% with little growth and is now measured at 30,716 acres in total size. Some crews on the fire line are still “spiked in” spending the night in the field as containment and mop up operations are continuing. The most active area of the fire is still the Northeastern perimeter where underbrush and timber exists. Cooler temperatures, increased overcast, lower wind speeds along with the possibility of rain and higher humidity will aid hand crews today. Fixed wing and helicopter aircraft will work the fire again along with dozers working on improving fire breaks. Travelers on Highway 38 will see areas where earlier during this fire incident, a stand was taken to keep the fire south of that corridor. That success, a major objective, is credited for keeping the fire from entering the Big Bear Valley during the early stages of this incident. Resources on scene include today include, 155 engines, 3 air tankers, 2 DC-10 VLAT (Very Large Air Tankers), 18 helicopters, 4 support planes, 54 crews,19 water tenders, 8 dozers and 2098 personnel. Except for Burns Canyon on the northeastern fire border, all other mandatory evacuation orders have been lifted but all hiking trails in the area remain closed.
Ben’s Weather Live Web Cam of San Gorgonio Wilderness Burn Brea.
Big Bear City, CA June 27, 2015 9:00 am – This morning, representatives from the Forest Service, Cal Fire, CHP, and the Sheriff’s department met to discuss the status of the fire, along with any safety concerns. During the meeting, these members from the Incident Management agreed to reopen Highway 38 as of 0800 hours. Evacuation orders have been lifted for the residents in the surrounding communities with the exception of Burns Canyon, which remains under mandatory evacuation. The camps in the area will be accessible for staff to conduct maintenance. The camps will not be operational with children at this time due to concerns of flash floods in the area from a possible thunderstorm over the weekend. The CHP and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department will maintain a presence along Highway 38 to ensure there are no traffic issues. Fire crews are continuing efforts to extinguish the blaze and have been very productive in limiting its growth over the past several days. Fire experts do not anticipate a change in the fire’s behavior today. All U.S. Forest lands in the affected fire areas remain closed for recreational purposes.
Big Bear City, CA June 27, 2015 8:30 am – The Big Bear Valley is breathing a little easier today and things are changing for the better quickly. Fire growth was minimal Friday compared to the previous two days. Weather conditions allowed firefighters to construct a direct line on the east side of the fire from Onyx Peak south. The favorable weather also allowed helicopters and air tankers to drop water and retardant on the more active areas of the fire. Crews continue to mopup, monitor, and patrol on the northwest side of the fire south of Highway 38. Dozers worked almost nonstop as well creating and renewing older fire breaks near highway 38 north and east of Onyx Summit. Containment has increased to 40% and the acreage is holding at 30,526. 18 helicopters are assigned to this incident and will be flying again today concentrating on the Northeast perimeter of the fire. The total cost related to this fire is in excess of $21,000,000 with nearly 2100 total personnel assigned to this incident. No word yet on the cause of the fire but it remains under investigation as will all wild fires regardless of size. .
BOISE, IDAHO , June 26, 2015 – After members of the public flying drones disrupted wildfire operations in southern California twice this week, federal, state, and local wildfire managers are again urging the public not to fly Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), often referred to as “drones,” within or near wildfires to ensure firefighter safety and the effectiveness of suppression operations. On Thursday, June 25th, airtanker operations were suspended on the Sterling Fire on the San Bernardino National Forest and on Wednesday, June 24th, airtanker operations were suspended on the Lake Fire on the San Bernardino National Forest, after drones flown by members of the public were detected in the fire areas. “If a UAS is detected flying over or near a wildfire, we will stop airtankers from dropp
ing fire retardant, helicopters from dropping water, and other aerial firefighting aircraft from performing wildfire suppression missions until we can confirm that the UAS has left the area and we are confident it won’t return,” said Steve Gage, U.S. Forest Service representative on the National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group (NMAC) at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. “Unfortunately, this could decrease the effectiveness of wildfire suppression operations, allowing wildfires to grow larger, and in some cases, unduly threaten lives and property, but firefighter and public safety are our top priorities in wildfire management.” Aerial firefighting aircraft, such as airtankers and helicopters, fly at very low altitudes, typically just a couple of hundred feet above the ground, the same as UAS flown by members of the public do, creating the potential for a mid-air collision that could seriously injure or kill aerial and/or ground firefighters. In addition, a UAS flown by a member of the public that loses its communication link could fall from the sky, causing serious injuries or deaths of firefighters on the ground. Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) are typically put in place during wildfires that require aircraft, manned or unmanned, that are not involved in wildfire suppression operations to obtain permission from fire managers to enter specified airspace. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Department of the Interior and other wildland fire management agencies consider UAS, including those used by members of the public for hobby and recreation purposes, to be aircraft and therefore subject to TFRs. Members of the public should not fly UAS over or near wildfires even if a TFR is not in place to prevent accidents and disruption of suppression operations. Individuals who are determined to have interfered with wildfire suppression efforts may be subject to civil penalties and potentially criminal prosecution
Big Bear, Calif., June 26, 2015, 7:45 am – Firefighters continue to battle the 29,813 acre Lake Fire. The containment remains at 19 percent. The fire was less active overnight allowing the continued development of contingency lines particularly along the northeast portion of the fire. The northwest area of the fire in the Heartbreak ridge area was the most active last night due to the southeast wind influence but held within contingency lines. Fire activity will continue in the Rainbow and West Pipes Canyon areas today. The Lake fire will continue to be influenced by topography and wind primarily. Today’s weather will continue to warm and dry with temperatures 89 to 94 degrees with a relative humidity 9-14 percent. The winds will b.e south 2-4 mph. Mandatory evacuations remain in place for the communities of Burns Canyon and Rimrock. A voluntary evacuation is still in place for Pioneertown. The community of Lake William is under an alert for possible evacuations. Lake Erwin and Lake Baldwin communities were also added to the alert. California Team Incident Command Team 5 (Minton) assumed command of the fire at 6 a.m. today. The second camp is in place at Big Bear Mountain Ski Resort in Big Bear
Helicopter operations near the Northeast perimeter in the restricted airspace.
Big Bear City, CA, June 25, 2015, 7:00 pm UPDATE: As of this evening, the Lake Fire has grown to 25,599 acres with 19% containment. Most of today’s fire growth was to the north towards Heartbreak Ridge and east towards the desert. With 2,116 fire fighting personnel now working this incident, by tomorrow morning, a camp will be set up and fully functional for these additional personnel at Bear Mountain Resort.
Click to play interview with Big Bear Fire Chief Jeff Willis and Big Bear Sheriff Captain Tom Bradford
Lake Fire Chief Willis Captain Bardford 6-25-15
Big Bear, CA, June 25,2015 8:00 am – As of this morning the Lake Fire has grown to 23,199 acres in size and is currently 21% contained, down from 26% last evening. Beside the areas already evacuated, additional mandatory evacuations now include Burns Canyon and Rimrock, with voluntary evacuation in place for Pioneertown. Yesterday the fire made a push northwards toward the Rainbow Lane area of Onyx Summit, but at this time no structures have been lost.
Big Bear City, CA June 24, 2015 6:00 pm – Illegal drone flying in the vicinity of the fire airspace has shut down all airborne firefighting efforts this afternoon. The hazardous and dangerous situation which drones create affect both helicopters and fixed wing aircraft, according to Bob Poole of the U.S. Forest Service, resulting in the grounding of all aircraft . Members of the Big Bear Fire Department along with federal firefighters sadly told KBHR that their fleet of aircraft was grounded earlier this afternoon due to the illegal and improper use of drones in the temporary flight rules area, or TFR, that surrounds the fire area. These restrictions are placed in order to give a greater degree of safety in an already uncertain and hazardous flying environment. Flight will resume as soon as the airspace is deemed to be free of the drone hazard. This afternoon the Lake Fire grew to 20,875 acres with an overall containment reduction to down 26% due to the now expanded fire area. The northern containment line, better know as the highway 38 corridor remained intact throughout today’s fire events. The southern perimeter of the fire continued to burn in that direction, creating a great deal of drift smoke in the eastern portion of the Big Bear Valley.
Big Bear City, CA June 24, 2015 3:50 PM – Approximately 360 campers have been safely evacuated from the Camp Oakes in the Lake William Area. This is a precautionary evacuation due to the large number of campers. The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department is handling the evacuations. The American Red Cross Evacuation Center is located at the Big Bear Community Church, 40946 Big Bear Blvd, in the city of Big Bear Lake. CERT is on-scene to meet campers at the evacuation center to address any immediate needs.
Update 3:20PM – DC-10’s and Air Tankers are making drops in the Rainbow Lane Area
Big Bear City, CA, June 24, 2015, 2:30pm– Lake Fire authorities have called for the evacuation of Camp Oaks as a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of the campers. A portion of the fire has moved in the direction of the camp, although they don’t see the fire as a threat to the camp. Since there are logistical issues involved with reuniting the campers with their families, fire officials have called for the evacuation of Camp Oaks. The community of Lake William is not being evacuated.
Lake Fire Anna Bribiecas 6-22-15@6pm
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Big Bear City, CA, June 23, 2015 7:30 pm – A of total of 4 Sky Cranes and 1 Sikorsky Heavy lift helicopter made use to BBARWA recycled water mixed with PHOS-CHEK Fire Retardant Foam to combat the Lake Fire. The Big Bear City Airport has played a significant roll in this major forest fire incident.
Big Bear, CA, June 23, 2015, 8:00 am – As of this morning, the Lake Fire is approximately 17,405 acres with only 55 additional acres burned since yesterday at this time. It is currently 30% contained which is up 9% since yesterday. The
majority of the fire growth continues to be on the east perimeter near the Coon Creek area. Highway 38 is the northern perimeter of the fire and crews are making good progress in the Heart Bar area.
The Southern California Air Quality Management District has issued a Smoke Advisory for the Morongo Valley and Pioneertown areas. Temperatures will slowly cool over the next several days with an increase in relative humidity which should help with fire fighting efforts.
There are 1932 personnel assigned to the fire and resources include 118 engines, 4 air tankers, 17 helicopters, 4 support planes, 16 water tenders, and 5 dozers.
Highway 38 remains closed between Lake Williams and Angelus Oaks. Maple Lane is also closed between Big Bear Blvd. and Baldwin Lane to all non-emergency vehicles.
Big Bear, CA, June 22, 2015 9:30 am – The Lake Fire, which was reported just before 4:00 pm on June 17, is now approximately 17,305 acres in size and is 21% contained. There are about 500 structures threatened, however no structures are believed to be damaged or destroyed at this time.
Fire within the wilderness is low intensity allowing the firefighters to gain safe ground to effectively attack the fire. Overall the growth of the fire has slowed with the majority of the fire growth to be on the east perimeter near the Coon Creek area. Hot Shot Crews have been working the extreme terrain of the northern portion of the San Gorgonio Wilderness constructing a fire line. Highway 38 is the northern perimeter of the fire and crews are making good progress in the Heart Bar area.
There are 1,986 men and women fighting the fire with 131 engines, 5 air tankers, and 16 helicopters. Highway 38 remains closed between Lake Williams and Angelus Oaks. Maple Lane between Big Bear Blvd. and Baldwin Lane is also closed to non-emergenc
Big Bear, CA., June 21, 2015 11:00 am – As the winds have increased along with the warmer temperatures the most easterly front of the the Lake Fire is becoming active and is progressing again to the east and north in an area called Fish Creek. Helicopters and fixed wing aircraft have are currently concentrating their efforts there. A mandatory evacuation order remains in place for the closest residential community of Rainbow Road near Onyx Summit.
Big Bear, CA., June 21, 2015 11:00 am – Progress has been made according to Big Bear Fire Chief Jeff Willis. The fire progression has been slowed with maps showing 16,136 acres burned and 15% containment mainly along the northern perimeter. The fire line along highway 38 has held keeping the fire south of that corridor which was a high priority goal of these operations.
from Big Bear Boulevard past the High School is closed to traffic due to equipment movement. Highway 38 remains closed due to the fire operations along with hiking trails in the area.
The level of response has been remarkable according Bob Poole of the Forest Service. There are over 1800 personnel on hand representing 47 fire crews, 135 engines and water tenders along with 16 very busy helicopters. The cost of this fire now exceeds $3,200,000 and the investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing.
Lake Fire Chief Willis 6-21-15 am
Big Bear CA, June 20, 2015, 9:00 am – UPDATE –The Lake Fire has now topped 15000 acres in size with containment holding at 10%. Concerns for firefighters today is again the high temperatures and low humidity predicted. This is a Type 2 incident drawing over 1330 personnel which equates to 29 crews on the fire line. Hand crews have been flown into the 10,000 foot level of San Gorgonio where a stubborn area of fire continue to move along a ridge line approaching the some of the mountain peaks. For residents of Big Bear and other areas to the east including Pioneer Town drift smoke will be an issue through out the day today. The Big Bear High School graduation came off without a hitch yesterday, which was moved due to the middle school after the fire command center took over the High School on Thursday afternoon. Concerns are regarding the spread to the Pioneer Town area have prompted the movement of a Contingency Division for the Morongo and Pioneertown Areas, however no are no evacuation orders in place for those locations. According to Chief Jeff Willis the threat to Big Bear is low at this time as the fire remains south of Highway 38. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
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Lake Fire Chief Willis 6-20-15 9:00 am
Big Bear CA, June 19, 2015, 10:20 am – UPDATE – There are reports that smoke is being seen drifting into Big Bear from the west over the Dam. At this time the smoke is believed to be drift smoke from the Lake Fire. Cooler temperatures last night resulted in a down draft motion of the air around the mountain peaks as previously described by Chief Willis. We do not have a report of another fire and as the day warms and westerly winds increase this type of drift smoke may become more visible.
Big Bear CA, June 19, 2015, 7:00 am – UPDA TE – Good news as the Lake Fire rate of growth has slowed to a total of 11,000 acres and containment has increased to 10%. Cooler overnight temperatures assisted along with over 1200 personnel on hand to fight the fire. Although 150 structures remain threatened, the current report is that no structure has been lost. The weather today will again be warm and dry but the wind predictions show slowing conditions. Later this morning, we will get an update from Big Bear Fire Chief Jeff Willis which will be aired and streamed on KBHR 93.3 and 102.5.
Big Bear CA, June 18, 2015, 8:00 pm – UPDATE- As of this evening, the Lake Fire is estimated to be at 10,000 acres. According to Big Bear Fire Chief Jeff Willis, crews have worked hard and will continue to do so to funnel the fire in a southerly direction to keep it away from Highway 38. A fresh crew is now out on the fire line to work through the night. Chief Willis also states that the threat is low to the Big Bear Valley. Firefighters want to thank the community for their support by bringing food and water to the Command Center. The outpouring has been so great that they have enough supplies now to get them through.
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Lake Fire Fire Chief Willis Interview
Big Bear CA, June 18, 2015, 7:30 pm – UPDATE – The Lake Fire has grown to 10,000 acres or more according to Chief Willis of Big Bear Fire . The fire continues to be funneled in a south easterly direction as shown on this map This morning, the Sheriff’s Department was contacted regarding a SPOT device activation from a hiker in the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area. The crew of Sheriff’s helicopter 40King5 responded. They located the 74 year old stranded hiker from Dana Point, Mr Stanley Reese. Mr Reese, on a three day backpacking trip, activated his SPOT device as the fast moving fire and smoke would have left him stranded behind fire lines. The weather prediction is for little but welcomed relief with cooler temperatures and diminishing winds.
Big Bear Lake, CA, June 18, 2015 – Bear Valley Unified School District received a request from the U.S. Forest Service to utilize Big Bear High School as one of the Incident Command Centers in response to the Lake Fire. In order to fully cooperate with the U.S. Forest Service and in the best interest of the safety of high school families and the community, Bear Valley Unified School District Administration made the decision to relocate Big Bear High School Graduation to Big Bear Middle School. The graduation ceremony will begin at 4:00 p.m. at Big Bear Middle School (41275 Big Bear Blvd., Big Bear Lake) tomorrow, Friday, June 19, 2015. Parking for graduation will be located at the overflow ski resort parking lots on Garstin Road (behind Bear Valley Community Hospital) and Brownie Lane (west of Walgreens). School buses will be available to serve as a shuttle service between the parking lots and Big Bear Middle School. Handicap parking will be available in the Middle School parking lot located at the corner of Jefferies and Big Bear Blvd. The District appreciates your complete cooperation in observing the above noted parking instructions. Please allow additional time to accommodate this location change. We recognize this is a very fluid situation and information may change rapidly. Please continue to check local media sources and the Bear Valley Unified School District website for updated information.
Big Bear CA, June 18, 2015, 12:01 pm – UPDATE -US Forest Service officials are now reporting that the Lake Fire has in the last 20 hours has increased to 7500 acres. In response the “Lake Fire” the Incident Center is being moved to the Big Bear High School and should open around 1:00 pm today. We are told that more firefighters will arrive later today to add to the 500 personnel already on the fire lines. In addition the fixed wing aircraft are working the fire by dumping retardant and then refilling at the Redlands Airport. Water dropping helicopter continue to fill at Jinks Lake as it is the closest to the fire lines. The fire remains south Highway 38 and is traveling south easterly at a moderate to rapid pace. Highway 38 remains closed. At this time the “Lake Fire” is not a threat to Big Bear.
Click Player for Interview with Chief Jeff Willis
Big Bear City CA, June 18, 2015 11:30 am – UPDATE – Big Bear City Airport General Manager Dustin Leno tells KBHR that as of 9:30 am the airport is closed to all other activity except for emergency operations. He went on to say that increased helicopter activity will be seen and heard during this incident. As Big Bear City Airport is a critical component during emergency situations such as this the airport staff has ordered extra jet fuel in order to help keep flying firefighters on the front line with minimum down time. Dustin went on to say that noise complaints have been minimal and he appreciates how the community comes together during these stressful times.
San Gorgonio Wilderness Area CA, June 18, 2015 9:15 am – UPDATE – The Forest Service is reporting that due to dry windy conditions in the early morning hours, the fire has been spreading at a moderate to rapid rate and now covers over 1500 acres. Due to the rapid fire area growth, the containment figure has been revised down to 5%. Evacuation areas include: camps east of Angelus Oaks, Onyx Summit, Barton Flats, Seven Oaks, and homes off of Rainbow Lane. Children evacuated from area camps were bused to Citrus Valley High School in Redlands to be reunited with their parents. Highway 38 remains closed between Lake William and Angelus Oaks. All hiking trails into the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area have been closed due to the proximity of the fire to many hiking trails. The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is closed from Whitewater Preserve to Onyx Summit. The list of firefighting assets currently assigned to the fire include: 500 total personnel, 32 engines, 5 air tankers, 7 helicopters (including night-flying), 1 air attack plane, 13 crews, 8 water tenders, and 3 dozers. The weather today will remain warm and dry with gusty winds near 30 mph. There is no direct threat to Big Bear at this time but be aware as wind direction shifts drift smoke from the fire is expected to affect air quality in the Big Bear Valley later today.
San Gorgonio Wilderness Area CA, June 18, 2015 5:55 am – UPDATE – Highway 38 in the vicinity of the fire was closed this morning use alternate routes. The Lake Fire continued to grow but at a slower rate overnight. Gusty winds from the southwest as high as 30 mph will again affect firefighting efforts throughout the day. Helicopter operations were slated to begin again this morning at 4:00 am. Information about the use of fixed wing aircraft for today’s operations has not been released, yesterday these operations were halted due to high winds near San Gorgonio Mountain. Large billowing clouds of smoke can be seen in Big Bear and from many areas in Southern California. The cause of the fire is being investigated.
Big Bear City, CA June 17 2015 – UPDATE: 9:30 pm – It is now being reported that the fire has grown to as much as 100 acres. with the winds from the south. Helicopter water drops will continue until 11:30 pm then begin again at 4:00 am. Because of the changing wind conditions Ben Brissy, KBHR Meteorologist says drift smoke from the Lake fire could fill Big Bear valley on Thursday.
Big Bear City, CA June 17 2015 – UPDATE: 8:30pm – According Big Bear Fire Chief Jeff Willis, the Lake fire has grown to 50 acres and 15% of the fire line is contained at this time. 180 persons have been evacuated from 5 camps near Jenks Lake Road. Fire officials are assessing the need to evacuate 6 additional camps with an estimated 350 people.
Fire is still moving east and burning into the San Gorgonio Wilderness area. Fire is being managed by a type 3 local incident management team. At this time fire the poses no threat to Big Bear. Chief Wills tells us that Big Bear residents can expect to see and hear aircraft on Thursday morning.
Big Bear City, CA June 17 2015 – UPDATE: 6:50pm – Jenks Road is closed but Highway 38 remains open. One camper has been evacuated. The fire is up to 25 acres. Fire flighting helicopters are on the scene but fixed wing planes are grounded until morning due to high winds.
UPDATE: 6:15pm – Fire near Jenks Lake is currently at 20+ acres with a moderate rate of spread with spot fires up to a half mile out ahead of the main fire. Wing aircraft is currently grounded due to the high winds.
There is currently a vegetation fire off of HWY 38 near Jenks Lake. Response teams are en route to the fire with several aircrafts and tenders. The fire is currently 8-10 acres and growing. HWY 38 is open. This fire poses no threat to the Big Bear area at this time, however smoke may be visible in the area.