Pilot fire scorches nearly 8,000 acres, but containment jumps to 64%

The Pilot fire has burned thousands of acres in the mountains of San Bernardino County.

Firefighters have gained the upper hand in their battle against a wildfire that has scorched nearly 8,000 acres in the rugged mountains of San Bernardino County.

Officials had estimated on Tuesday that the Pilot fire was just 6% contained, but said Wednesday that the containment had jumped to 64%.

The drastic improvement owed to the fleet of helicopters and air tankers that attacked the blaze, as well as the so-called containment lines that firefighters began building in the hills above Crestline after the fire erupted about noon Sunday.

“Until we actually are convinced that those lines have been tested and are going to hold, we’re not going to include them in that total,” U.S. Forest Service spokesman Bob Poole said. “Those lines that were built -- now we’re convinced that they’re good, solid lines.”


The fire, which has charred 7,861 acres, or about 12 square miles, remained active Wednesday, with winds carrying embers that sparked small spot fires, according to the Forest Service. The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

Firefighters were focusing on protecting the communities of Deer Lodge Park and North Lake Arrowhead, Poole said.