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Brush fire near Redlands prompts mandatory evacuations

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As of Thursday morning, the Bruder fire near Redlands had burned through 125 acres and was 30% contained.

Hot, dry weather has helped pave the way for at least two brush fires in Southern California — and the worst may be yet to come.

In San Bernardino, crews with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection are battling a brush fire that broke out Wednesday evening near Redlands.

The blaze, dubbed the Bruder fire, started just before 10 p.m. off Live Oak Canyon Road and prompted the evacuations of nearby homes, according to Cal Fire San Bernardino.

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By 2:30 a.m., 265 firefighters, including six hand crews, were using 30 engines, three water tenders and two bulldozers to battle the fire.

As of Thursday afternoon, the fire had burned more than 170 acres and was 30% contained, according to Cal Fire San Bernardino spokesman Capt. Bennet Milloy.

In Los Angeles, a small brush fire in the Eagle Rock neighborhood just south of 134 freeway ignited around 11:30 a.m. Thursday. It burned through half an acre of light brush and grass before being extinguished by the Los Angeles Fire Department less than 30 minutes later.

A fire in the same area scorched 45 acres last August.

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Both blazes arrived hours ahead of fire weather warnings issued for the region.

The National Weather Service said bone-dry, blustery conditions should begin Thursday evening, when a fire weather watch will go into effect for Santa Clarita Valley and the Los Angeles and Ventura county mountains. The mountains and coastal slopes of the San Bernardino and Santa Ana ranges, as well as areas of the Inland Empire below the Cajon Pass, will also be under watch.

In Redlands, where the Bruder fire is still burning, mandatory evacuations have been ordered south of East Sunset Drive South, from Edgemont Drive to Puesta Del Sol, and north of Live Oak Canyon Road from the 10 Freeway to San Timoteo Canyon Road.

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Evacuation warnings are also in effect south of Live Oak Canyon between San Timoteo Canyon and Interstate 10.

As many as 55 homes are threatened, Milloy said Thursday.

A Red Cross evacuation center has been set up at Redlands High School. Large animals may be taken to El Camino Ranch at 11363 Walnut St.

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Milloy said the predicted fire weather is cause for concern, particularly since the Bruder fire is primarily burning in steep, grassy terrain in San Timoteo Canyon.

“There’s a lot of work to be done to call this thing fully contained,” he said, “but obviously that’s a priority to get done today before that weather fully develops by tonight.”

Wind gusts could climb as high as 25 mph, while humidity levels will be at an arid 5% to 8%, according to the weather service, which cautions that “any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly.”

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The cause of the blaze is under investigation, Cal Fire spokesman Sean McFadden said.


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