Destructive Blue Cut fire is 68% contained as flames continue to rage across the state


Firefighters tightened their grip on the fast-moving Blue Cut fire overnight Friday, capitalizing on humid weather conditions to gain greater control over the 37,020-acre blaze, authorities said Saturday.

The fire, which is 73% contained, has destroyed 105 homes and 213 other structures in San Bernardino County since it broke out Tuesday for reasons investigators are still trying to determine.

Most of the damage was concentrated in rural communities perched on the edge of vast open spaces. More than 80,000 people were evacuated at one point, and no one has died or been injured.


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On Saturday, fire teams focused their efforts on the communities of Lytle Creek and Wrightwood, finishing containment lines so that residents could return to their homes more quickly, said Lyn Sieliet, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service.

“They’re holding the perimeter fairly well. It’s just a matter of getting the containment lines cut around it,” Sieliet said.

Dry brush and unseasonably powerful winds have complicated things for the 2,684 firefighters battling the blaze, Sieliet said. She says firefighters have battled winds of up to 50 mph.

“It’s not much, but it’s enough to move the fire,” Sieliet said.

San Bernardino has seen some of California’s most lethal and destructive wildfires. In 2003, Santa Ana wind conditions whipped the Old fire to more than 90,000 acres, destroying nearly 1,000 structures in one of the deadliest fire seasons in the state’s history.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection reports that 3,874 fires have broken out between Jan. 1 and Aug. 13, burning 112,950 acres and killing seven people.


Other wildfires continued to burn under various states of control across California.

--Clayton fire: 3,929 acres and 300 structures were destroyed near Clear Lake; 90% contained as of Saturday evening; began Aug. 13.

--Chimney fire: 19,909 acres acres and 46 structures destroyed in San Luis Obispo County; 35% contained as of Saturday evening; began Aug. 13.

--Rey fire: 10,732 acres north of Santa Barbara in Los Padres National Forest; 10% contained as of Saturday morning; began Thursday afternoon.

Twitter: @frankshyong



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