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Fast-moving fire threatening communities in Yucaipa; evacuations underway

Firefighters advance up a hill as the El Dorado fire approaches the Yucaipa area Saturday.
Firefighters advance up a hill as the El Dorado fire approaches the Yucaipa area Saturday. Evacuations were ordered in several nearby San Bernardino County communities.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

A fast-moving brush fire has scorched more than 3,000 acres in the Yucaipa area in San Bernardino County, prompting evacuations of several nearby communities, fire officials said Sunday.

Dubbed the El Dorado fire, the blaze began about 10:30 a.m. Saturday in the 37000 block of Oak Glen Road, officials said. By 2:30 p.m., the 5-acre fire had exploded in size, forcing the evacuation of Oak Glen, Forest Falls, Mountain Home Village and parts of eastern Yucaipa.

The blaze also closed a portion of the San Gorgonio Wilderness, according to San Bernardino National Forest officials.

“Hikers who are exiting the Vivian Creek, San Bernardino Peak and Momyer trailheads are advised to stop their trip and head back to retrieve their vehicles,” the national forest’s Twitter post said.

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The Yucaipa Community Center was set up as an evacuation center, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Another major fire was burning in Fresno County in Northern California.

Jeremy Anglin, left, and Matt Taylor heat up tacos on a grill as the El Dorado fire approaches in Yucaipa on Saturday.
Jeremy Anglin, left, and Matt Taylor heat up tacos on a grill as the El Dorado fire approaches in Yucaipa Saturday. The two men are friends of the homeowner and came to help fight the blaze if it got closer.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

A brush fire in the Sierra National Forest exploded Saturday, consuming more than 36,000 acres, threatening local communities andtrapping 150 people near a popular reservoir.

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The fast-moving Creek fire cut off evacuation routes to Mammoth Pool Reservoir, according to the Madera County Sheriff’s Office. All of the people were reported safe but 10 of them had injuries, the Sheriff’s Office said.

The fast-moving Creek fire cut off evacuation routes to Mammoth Pool Reservoir, according to the Madera County sheriff’s office. All of the people were reported safe but 10 of them suffered some type of injury, the sheriff’s office said.

The California National Guard assisted in a major rescue operation Saturday night, using a CH-47 Chinook helicopter to help airlift people trapped by the fire, including some who are injured, said Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau. Hokanson said in a tweet that people had been taken to CalGuard facilities and were met by medics and civilian first responders.

The Fresno Fire Department said late Saturday that several military helicopters had rescued 63 people and taken them to Fresno Yosemite International Airport . Injuries were severe for two people and moderate for 10 others, while 51 people had minor or no injuries, fire officials said in a tweet. Aircraft were returning to continue operations but it was unclear, the tweet said, how many more people needed to be evacuated.

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Sierra National Forest spokesman Dan Tune said those trapped in the reservoir area were not in imminent danger since the fire front has moved past them and was headed north. But people have been advised to shelter in place while strike teams of engines and hand crews try to clear evacuation routes and contain the fast-moving flames. The fire is also threatening a range of structures and power lines.

Residents of Huntington Lake, Camp Sierra and Big Creek in Central California were ordered to evacuate.

“The priority right now is community and life safety,” he said.


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