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First Big Break In The Lake Fire: Firefighters Get 40% Containment, Thanks To Better Weather



Cooler, cloudy weather conditions with occasional sprinkles yesterday and overnight helped firefighters get the Lake Fire to 40 percent containment, as of 7:00 this morning (Saturday). 

The Lake Fire has burned nearly 50 square miles of national forest, wilderness, private, and Indian lands ranging from peaks and valleys south of Big Bear Lake to Chaparral scrub north of the Beaumont/Banning Pass, to desert foothill brush just miles west of Joshua Tree National Park.  Saturday's containment is the most the blaze has been contained since it started 10 days ago.

In it's news update Saturday  morning, the U.S. Forest Service reported that mostly cloudy skies prevailed across the fire area yesterday and overnight. Scattered sprinkles affected parts of the fire from dissipating thunderstorms over Mexico. Temps were held down in the lower 70s and 80s due to the cloud cover and relative humidity was higher at 20-30%. Mostly cloudy skies will continue tonight with sprinkles or brief light rain possible. Temps will generally be in the mid 50s and 60s overnight with relative humidity recovery to 30-40% except 20-25% on desert facing slopes on the east side of the fire. Winds will be 5-10 mph with evening gusts around 15 mph.

Officials told the Press-Enterprise that cloudy skies for most of the day resulted in the fire primarily creeping and smoldering.
Firefighters were able to construct a 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.
The Press-Enterprise's website pe.com also reported that, in addition to more favorable weather conditions:
Friday also brought more good news: a formal declaration of an emergency that allows San Bernardino County to seek reimbursement for firefighting efforts that, as of Friday night, have climbed to $20.7 million for all agencies.  http://www.pe.com/articles/fire-771679-howmany-officials.html

The Forest Service Update Saturday morning says firefighters will continue to hold, mop up and improve existing containment lines, continue direct line construction, and provide structure protection.

Highway 38 is closed from Angelus Oaks to Lake Williams, Jenks Lake Road and Maple Lane in Big Bear Lake. All hiking trails into the San Gorgonio Wilderness and Pacific Crest Trail from Whitewater Preserve to Onyx Summit are closed.
The following campgrounds are closed: 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, and Mission Springs Pacific Crest Trail Camp.
Mandatory evacuations: all areas east of Angelus Oaks, including Barton Flats, Seven Oaks, Rainbow Lane, Heart Bar; all cabins and campgrounds in the South Fork area and to the east; Burns Canyon; Rimrock.
Voluntary evacuations: Pioneertown.
Under alert: communities of Lake Williams, Erwin Lake, and Baldwin Lake.
Fire Information
(909) 383-5688 and inciweb.nwcg.gov (Lake Fire)
For the latest official U.S. Forest Service information on the 'Lake Fire' burning in the San Bernardino Mountains near Highway 38 (including road closures, evacuations, smoke advisories, and outlook), click on this link:?



Ken Vincent has retired. We appreciate the way he shared his expertise with many of our young interns and reporters over the nearly eight years he spent as KVCR's lead journalist and Morning Edition host. We wish him a happy and relaxing retirement as he spends more time in his garden and, as he mentioned, more time on the golf course. Thanks Ken!
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