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Now 2 Weeks Old, Lake Fire Grows to 31,359 Acres; 65% Contained


The Lake Fire burning in the San Bernardino Mountains for the past two weeks has edged up to 31,359 acres in size and is now 65 percent contained.

The U.S. Forest Service reports today (Wednesday 7/1) that the blaze is now limited to “interior smoldering,” with isolated flare-ups along the still-uncontrolled southern portion of the burn area perimeter.  The Forest Service says very little perimeter growth was reported yesterday and overnight (Tuesday/Wednesday).

The number of personnel deployed to help fight the fire has been reduced to just more than 1700, down from nearly 2300 a couple of days ago.

The Forest Service reports there have been five minor firefighter injuries. One structure and three outbuildings have been destroyed.

Forest Service officials say firefighters will continue to hold, mop up and improve existing containment lines, continue direct line construction in uncontained areas, and continue fire suppression repair.

Scattered rain showers were present over the fire area today, bringing light rain to some parts of the fire. Incident meteorologists predict the possibility of scattered thunderstorms. Gusty and erratic winds are possible with any storm.

The Forest Service reported the following details in its 8:00am update Wednesday, July 1:

Current Fire Situation

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 100 to 200 feet from the perimeter. In the secured areas, the suppression repair and rehabilitation crews will continue to repair the damaged infrastructure and repair the containment lines. Crews are using heavy equipment, chippers, and handcrews to accelerate the landscape’s recovery from the suppression activities. Lake Fire resources will be available to assist the Forest with initial attack for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday activities.

Because the fire perimeter in the wilderness continues to hold pockets of heat, one of yesterday’s priorities was to bring crews into the wilderness. Favorable weather provided crews the opportunity to construct fireline directly on the fire’s perimeter in many areas of the fire. Helicopter bucket drops were instrumental in assisting crews on the ground in suppressing pockets of high heat. The suppression repair and rehabilitation crews made excellent progress in the Rainbow Lane area. Crews are continuing to repair roads that were damaged during suppression activities.

Weather & Fire Behavior

There is a chance of thunderstorms for the fire area today. Any rain from these storms would assist the firefighting efforts. However, the outflow winds and lightning associated with the thunderstorms continue to pose a safety concern to the firefighters. There will be minimal fire behavior today with the expected weather. Analysts observed only six areas of heat between the control line and 200 feet into the fire perimeter. Last night’s rain had minimal effect on hotspots inside the fire’s perimeter. Smoke from the wilderness areas of the fire will continue to be visible as heavy fuels continue to burn.

Traffic Safety

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.


The public should call the Serrano campground office (909-866-8550) with questions regarding campground closures.

The Lake Fire was reported just before 4:00 pm on June 17, 2015. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

All evacuations have been lifted and Highway 38 has been re-opened, however all Forest Service lands in the area of the fire remain closed to recreation purposes. Please view the Fire Closure Order, and Map of Fire Closure.

The following is a list of closed sites:

Day-Use Areas: Barton Flats Visitor Center, Greyback Amphitheatre, and Jenks Lake Day Use Site are closed.

Cabins: Owners of cabins administered by the Forest Service are allowed to access their structures during the daytime, but overnight stays are not authorized at this time. This includes cabins in the Barton Flats, Stetson Creek, Round Cienega, Seven Oaks, Lost Creek, South Fork, and Fish Creek Tracts

Campgrounds: Campgrounds along Hwy 38 will remain closed through the 9th of July 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. For campground reservation cancellations and refunds, please call the NRRS reservation service at 877-444-6777. For additional information about campground closures, please contact California Land Management at 909-866-8550

Organizational Camps: Special Use Camps remain closed to campers. Camps are accessible for staff only to conduct maintenance.

The following roads are closed due to direct impacts by the fire and fire suppression: 1N01, 2N01, 2N02, 2N05, 2N61Y, 2N64Y, 2N68Y, 2N69Y, 2N71Y, 2N73Y, 2N74Y, 2N75Y 2N76Y, 2N83Y, 3N03

The following roads in the lower Santa Anna River Area are closed due to flood risk below the burned area: 2N93, 2N06, 1N54, 1N94, 1N09, 1N07, 1N72, 1N45, 1N03

Trails: All hiking trails into the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area remain closed, including Vivian, Momyer, and Big Falls trailhead in the Forest Falls Area; as well as the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) between Whitewater Preserve to Onyx Summit.

The fire behavior today was minimal with creeping and smoldering, with isolated tree torching and occasional small uphill runs within the high elevation unburned islands. No perimeter growth was reported on the fire.

Resources on scene include:
64 engines
2 Airtankers (Also available to new fires)
19 helicopters
50 crews
11 water tenders
2 dozers
1714 personnel assigned to the fire

There have been five minor firefighter injuries. One structure and three outbuildings have been destroyed.

Fire management is under Unified Command with Cal Fire. The Incident Command Post is located at Big Bear High School.

Ben's Weather Webcam has updated images of the fire area every 30 seconds

For detailed information, please visit the following websites:
http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/ (Lake Fire)

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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