South Fire (CA) Torches Nearly 700 Acres in Lytle Creek

Martin Estacio

Daily Press, Victorville, Calif.

(MCT)

Aug. 27—The South Fire in the Lytle Creek area has now burned nearly 700 acres and remained 0% contained with evacuation orders still in place, officials said Thursday.

The fire — which ignited Wednesday afternoon — charred 680 acres, and damaged four homes and 14 other structures, the San Bernardino County Fire Department said Thursday morning.

In a tweet, the San Bernardino National Forest — which has U.S. Forest Service firefighters also battling the blaze — said the buildings had been destroyed.

County Fire Battalion Chief Mike McClintock, meanwhile, said it was “safe to say” the structures had been damaged.

“We have a damage assessment team in place today, should have an idea on extent of damage of each structure,” he said in a text.

One firefighter was taken to the hospital with a minor injury, officials said. No other injuries to residents or firefighters had been reported as of Thursday afternoon.

An evacuation order for the entire community of Lytle Creek and nearby areas was still in place as of Thursday afternoon, said Mara Rodriguez, spokesperson for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

The order affects residents both north and south of the Lytle Creek Ranger Station, west of Sierra Avenue, north of Interstate 15 and east of Duncan Canyon Road.

“Due to the single two-lane road in and out of town, lack of lighting and the number of fire apparatus operating on Lytle Creek Road, residents are being escorted out of the area by law enforcement,” county fire said in a statement. “With (forecasted) higher temperatures and winds today, we ask that residents respect this order and afford firefighters the greatest chance of fighting this fire aggressively yet safely.”

The American Red Cross opened a “reception center for evacuees” at the Jessie Turner Center, 15556 Summit Avenue in Fontana. The Devore Animal Shelter is accepting both small and large animals at 19777 Shelter Way in San Bernardino.

When it started, the fire could be seen burning around livestock and llamas in news coverage.

Firefighters worked through the night with the help of a night-flying helicopter and other aircraft, the U.S. Forest Service said.

“Crews are preparing for day shift with high temperatures and low (humidity) levels,” officials added.

Temperatures in the area were already in the low 90s Thursday morning, according to the National Weather Service, which had previously predicted a high of 89.

Winds from the southeast of 10 to 15 mph were expected, with gusts as high as 25 mph.

The area temperature rose to 100 degrees at about 3:30 p.m. as officials said the fire was making a run on the east side of Lytle Creek Road where water drops were difficult.

The NWS also issued a heat advisory Thursday for both San Bernardino and Riverside counties’ valley areas, as well as the Inland Empire, that the agency said would last through 9 p.m. Sunday.

Temperatures of up to 104 were expected during the advisory.

Daily Press reporter Martin Estacio may be reached at 760-955-5358 or MEstacio@VVDailyPress.com. Follow him on Twitter @DP_mestacio.

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