RedZone is monitoring the Bluecut Fire, a fast moving brush fire burning in the Cajon Pass area north of San Bernardino. The fire originated along the 15 Freeway and grew with explosive intensity to over 30,000 acres in less than 24 hours. Firefighters have struggled to gain an upper hand on the fire as it spreads rapidly across the canyons and flatlands, forcing more than 80,000 people to evacuate. Ground crews are focused on defensive firefighting, clearing brush and laying hose line, while air attacks bombard the area with fire retardant and water drops.
An unknown number of homes have been lost since yesterday but some estimates put the number over a dozen. Several businesses, utility infrastructure, a historic diner and at least one church have also been consumed by the flames. Fortunately only minor injuries have been reported to date, but officials report that damage assessment teams and cadaver dogs will begin searching homes along Highway 138 as soon as possible.
A fire crew was overrun yesterday while defending structures, when fast approaching flames overtook their position. The firefighters were forced to take shelter as the flames encircled them and 2 crew members suffered inhalation injuries. The injured crew members have been treated and released from a nearby hospital and are currently back on the fire line helping defend positions.
Blue Cut Fire Outlook
California Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency and a National Type 1 Incident Management Team has been requested. Currently there are over 1,300 personnel on scene with multiple engines, air tankers and helicopters supporting their efforts. Additional resources are in route to the fire and the area remains under a red flag warning. The current weather conditions have contributed to the critical fire conditions with temperatures near 100 degrees, very low humidity and wind gusts as high as 30mph.
Bluecut Fire Facts (8/17/2016)
- Started: August 16th, 2016
- Location: Cajon Junction , CA
- Size: 32,939 acres
- Containment: 0%
- Fire Behavior: Rapid fire spread through brush in hills, canyons and flatland.
- Structures Threatened: 34,506
- Structures Destroyed: An unknown number of structures have been destroyed.
- Evacuations: Are in place for the communities of Wrightwood, Phelan and Lytle Creek.
- Incident Page: Inciweb
- News Article: LA Times