Blue Cut Fire burns 18,000 acres; Gov. Brown declares state of emergency
Wednesday 7:00 a.m. — The Blue Cut Fire almost doubled in size overnight Tuesday night and continues to threaten homes and displace residents in the San Bernardino area Wednesday.
The blaze has grown to 30,000 acres with no containment, threatening 34,500 homes and leaving 82,640 people under evacuation warnings.
— CAL FIRE (@CAL_FIRE) August 17, 2016
Tuesday 10:15 p.m. — The Blue Cut Fire increases to 18,000 acres.
9:00 p.m. — The Blue Cut Fire increases to 15,000 acres and remains at zero percent containment.
According to the Associated Press, Eric Sherwin of the San Bernardino County Fire Department said at least a dozen buildings had burned, including the Summit Inn, an historic diner near Interstate 15.
"I can confirm that we’ve lost structures, both residential and commercial," Sherwin said. "I’m looking up here and I’m seeing buses, I’m seeing outbuildings, I’m seeing houses."
According to AP, mandatory evacuation calls went out to 34,506 homes with more than 82,600 people.
6:45 p.m. — The Blue Cut Fire increases to 9,000 acres and is still zero percent contained.
According to Cal Fire, 82,000 residents under mandatory evacuations.
— CAL FIRE PIO Berlant (@CALFIRE_PIO) August 17, 2016
6:30 p.m. — California Gov. Jerry Brown issued a state of emergency in San Bernardino as the Blue Cut Fire has burned thousands of acres, threatened homes and caused the evacuation of residents.
"WHEREAS on August 16, 2016, the Blue Cut Fire started in San Bernardino County, and has rapidly burned thousands of acres of land, and continues to burn; and
WHEREAS this fire has burned several homes and threatens thousands of structures, including additional homes, necessitating the evacuation of thousands of residents; and
WHEREAS the fire is expanding rapidly and has caused injuries to firefighters and destroyed firefighting equipment; and
WHEREAS a Federal Fire Management Assistance Grant has been requested and approved for the Blue Cut Fire; and
WHEREAS on January 17, 2014, I declared a State of Emergency based on the extreme drought that has caused millions of trees to die, and increased the severity and spread of fires throughout the State; and
WHEREAS the circumstances of this fire by reason of its magnitude, are or are likely to be beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment, and facilities of any single local government and require the combined forces of a mutual aid region or regions to combat …"
Read the full statement HERE
5:00 p.m. — The Blue Cut Fire has reached 6,500 acres and is zero percent contained.
Residents living in the area have been ordered to leave and evacuate their homes.
According to the Los Angeles Times, a half-dozen firefighters are trapped inside the flames as they battled to fight them.
The San Bernardino County Fire Department announced in a statement that six firefighters were trapped while they worked to save a home in Swarthout Canyon.
The firefighters took shelter in a nearby structure, but two had to be treated for minor injuries, the statement said. Both firefighters were released and have resumed battling the wildfire.
Cathleen Mattingly, a Cal Fire spokeswoman, said San Bernardino National Forest officials, U.S. Forest Service firefighters, county sheriff’s officials and and California Highway Patrol officers are also responding to the fire.
2:30 p.m. — The I-15 freeway was shut down in both directions Tuesday as a 5,500 acre brush fire burned through the Cajon Pass.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Blue Cut Fire was reported just after 10:30 a.m. and spread to 1,500 acres in the first two hours.
The San Bernardino County firefighters are helping forest officials battle the flames.
— SB County Fire (@SBCOUNTYFIRE) August 17, 2016
The Los Angeles Times reports that about 500 firefighters are on scene, along with 25 engines, two crews and one helicopter.
So far, two firefighters have sustained minor injuries.
According to the Los Angeles Times, evacuations were ordered for the following areas:
- All residents of Lytle Creek
- Areas north of Highway 138, east of Sheep Creek, south of Phelan Road and west of Caliente
- Kimbark Elementary School students moved to Cesar Chavez School in San Bernardino
A care and reception center has been set up at Sultana High School at 17311 Sultana Street in Hesperia
— SB County Fire (@SBCOUNTYFIRE) August 16, 2016
A Red Cross emergency shelter has been set up for evacuees at the Jessie Turner Community Center in Fontana. The Devore Animal Shelter is accepting large and small animals from evacuated areas, according to the LA Times.
The National Weather Service released a Heat Wave Red Flag warning early Tuesday.
The warning will remain in effect until at least Thursday at 9 p.m. for strong winds.