Firefighters Making Slow Progress in Lake Fire, 38% Contained



Photos courtesy of CalFire and the U.S. Forrest Services

More than 18,000 acres have burned and the cost of fighting the fire is $11.6 million and climbing.

SAN BERNARDINO — As the Lake Fire continues to burn in the San Bernardino mountains, firefighters are making gradual progress with containment increasing to 38 percent, officials said.

The fire is now down in Little Morongo and Big Morongo Canyons and firefighters are monitoring the blaze as it moves into more accessible terrain where fire line can be built and retardant can be used more successfully, according to the U.S. Forrest Service.

Wednesday, the focus will be the south side, south of the Ten Thousand Foot Ridge where the fire is in steep rocky terrain with pockets of trees. Burning vegetation rolling downhill and igniting downslope brushes is how the fire is spreading in this area.

Officials say the spread is low, but consistent. Firefighters expect to make slow progress on containment throughout the day Wednesday.

Smoke will be visible Wednesday, specially in the Forest Falls fire, the Forrest Service said.

Helicopters will be getting water from various areas Wednesday and officials say residents may see more air traffic than previous days because the flight paths will be different.

Officials have set up portable water tanks in the Forest Falls and Pioneertown areas.

Highway 38 remains closed and officials remind residents to respect the closure. Traffic accidents are the cause of the most firefighter fatalities, they said.

Campgrounds in Barton Flats, San Gorgonio, Council, Heart Bar, Oso, Lobo, Heart Bar Equestrian, Wildhorse Equestrian, Coon Creek Cabin, Coon Creek Yellow-post Sites and Mission Springs PCT Trail Camp are closed and campers are asked to cancel their reservations for these campgrounds.

Campers at other campsites should contact Heather Mobley at the Mountaintop Ranger District office for status updates.

Evacuations remain in effect for all areas east of Angelus Oaks including, Barton Flats, Seven Oaks, Rainbow Lane, Heart Bar and all cabins and campgrounds in the South Fork area.

All hiking trails into the San Gorgonio Wilderness and Pacific Crest Trail from Whitewater Preserve to Onyx Summit are also closed.

More than 1,900 firefighters, 18 helicopters and 3 air tankers are currently battling the blaze at the estimated cost of $11.6 million.

The fire perimeter is currently 6 air miles from Big Bear, 11 air miles from Pioneertown and 9 air miles from Morongo Valley.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.