Update: As of Thursday night, Sept. 10, El Dorado Fire surpassed 13,500 acres and firefighters reached 31 percent containment.
A total of 1,244 personnel have assisted in firefighting efforts that have included 17 hand crews, 179 fire engines, 12 dozers, six helicopters, four fixed-wing aircraft and 13 water tenders. Three injuries have been reported.
Of a total of 12,500 structures threatened 10 structures have been destroyed, including four homes. Two additional homes and four other structures have been damaged.
According to a San Bernardino National Forest incident report:
The El Dorado Fire actively burned on the steep western perimeter near Highway 38 Thursday afternoon. There is a concern for ember casting overnight with a downslope wind influence. Crews are working diligently to patrol and work on the control line in this very difficult terrain.
The hard work by the ground crews over the past several days has successfully held the fire behind Mountain Home Village along the fire control lines. Crews continue mop up and extinguish hot spots to protect the community.
Just east of Mountain Home Village, the fire crossed Highway 38. The fire continues to burn up the slopes along the dozer contingency line. Crews are deploying hose and utilizing both water and retardant drops to slow the fire progression.
The fire crossed Highway 38 a second time above the hairpin curve and is now burning into the old Valley Fire scar and has slowed its progression due to a reduction in fuels. Fire crews are working diligently to build indirect control line to the north of the fire perimeter due to the considerable threat to Angelus Oaks and Big Bear.
The fire has also burned into the western portion of Oak Lane in Forest Falls. The continued efforts of fire crews building and reinforcing controls lines as well as structure preparation have allowed for active engagement on the fire by ground resources.
On the south side of Yucaipa Ridge, smoke may be observed in the area of Wildwood Canyon as fuels continue burning inside of the fire perimeter. Fire lines are holding and continue to be reinforced on the southern edge of the fire.
The evacuation warning and order remain in effect for portions of Mentone and Yucaipa.
Residents of Angelus Oaks, Seven Oaks, Barton Flats up to Onyx Summit, an evacuation order is issued for your area. Please review the Evacuation Warnings and Orders at the end of this update to determine if you are affected.
Thursday the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and the El Dorado Fire Unified Incident Commanders issued an advisory for visitors to consider rescheduling planned visits to the Big Bear area due to fire activity.
Neighbors, please stay vigilant and check Inciweb, Twitter and Facebook for changes on the #ElDoradoFire.
Over Labor Day weekend residents of Yucaipa and Oak Glen were evacuated as firefighters worked to contain a large wildfire near El Dorado Ranch Park in Yuciapa, which was started by the use of a colored-smoke pyrotechnic device used for a gender reveal event on Saturday morning, Sept. 5.
As of Tuesday, Sept. 8, the fire was reported to be 16 percent contained at more than 10,500 acres. Enormous ground and air firefighting efforts worked to protect the homes of several nearby neighborhoods. Approximately 650 personnel participated in 60 fire engines, 10 bulldozers, 10 hand crews, six helicopters, six fixed-wing aircraft and 10 water tenders.
While aircraft conducted numerous fire retardant drops, firefighters on the ground created fire lines and conducted a burnout operation along the eastern perimeter of the fire, between Oak Gel Road and the burn scar of August’s Apple Fire.
Evacuation orders were issued for several neighborhoods in Yucaipa, Oak Glen, Forest Falls, Mountain home Village and North Bench Yucaipa. A temporary evacuation center was established at Redlands East Valley High School.
In addition to the evacuations, Highway 38 is closed from Bryant Avenue to the town of Angelus Oaks as is Oak Glen Road.
Oak Glen resident Brian Laird lives directly across from the slope where the fire was first spotted Saturday morning and was one of the residents to report the fire by calling 9-1-1. He had an up-close view of much of the early action on Saturday morning.
“This is my home. What these guys have done is fantastic,” Laird said of the firefighters.
“It was a campfire sized fire when I called it in.”
According to Cal Fire, the fire quickly traveled north.
Almost a dozen bulldozers carved fire breaks and widened dirt roads for equipment and ground crews.
The air strikes were proving effective in the morning as the fire traveled in a northerly direction up the slopes.
However, the wind shifted on Saturday afternoon causing the blaze to rage toward several houses at the corner of Bears Den Ranch Road and Carter Street.
The aircraft adjusted their attack to protect the homes, dropping long lines of fire retardant.
The rotary wing aircraft dropped thousands of gallons of water on the dense vegetation to douse the oncoming flames.
At one point, the Laird home was almost surrounded by huge flames.
By Saturday evening, the Laird’s home and several other homes at the base of the mountain were saved.
The fire continued to move over the mountain and toward Oak Glen.