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Effort To Fight Lake Fire Winding Down; Size Holding At 31,359 Acres, 80% Contained


It’s now safe to say that work on the Lake Fire  - which has been burning in the San Bernardino Mountains south and east of Highway 38 for more than two weeks – is winding down. For the past few days, firefighters have held the growth of the blaze to just more than 31-thousand acres in size, and containment has gone from 70 percent yesterday to 80 percent today (Friday).  This time last week, there were nearly 2,300 personnel deployed to fight the lake fire; as of Friday morning, the Forest Service says it has reduced personnel working on the blaze by nearly half, to 1200. Four firefighters have been injured; the cause of the Lake Fire is still under investigation.  The cost of the Lake Fire has escalated to nearly $38 million.

A consortium of federal, state and local agencies have started working on a post-fire procedure called the Burn Area Emergency Response (BAER) program, where assessment teams evaluate  watershed conditions to determine the risks to human life, safety, and property, and determine if there are stabilization measures that can be implemented to reduce risks from potential flooding and debris flow threats.

In its 8am news update Friday morning, the Forest Service provided these details:

Current Fire Situation

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.

Weather & Fire Behavior

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.

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 California Land Management’s Serrano campground office (909-866-8550) with questions regarding campground closures.

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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