Cloudy weather aids wild­fire fight

High­way 38 re­opens, evac­u­a­tions lifted as San Bernardino for­est blaze 50% con­tained.

Los Angeles Times - - THE STATE - By Ruben Vives ruben.vives@latimes.com

U.S. For­est Ser­vice of­fi­cials said cloudy skies and higher hu­mid­ity were giv­ing fire­fight­ers the up­per hand against the 30,500-acre wild­fire burn­ing in the San Bernardino Na­tional For­est.

As of Satur­day, the Lake fire, which erupted on June 17, was 50% con­tained, said U.S. For­est Ser­vice spokes­woman Diann McGlothen. The fire had caused more than $20 mil­lion in dam­ages.

“We’ve got a good han­dle on it now,” McGlothen said, adding that the shift has led to the re­open­ing of High­way 38 and the lift­ing of most evac­u­a­tion or­ders, ex­cept for Burns Canyon.

Cloudy con­di­tions with a slight chance of pre­cip­i­ta­tion were ex­pected to con­tinue un­til late Satur­day, which could help fire crews in­crease con­tain­ment on the fire burn­ing be­tween Onyx Sum­mit and Rim­rock, McGlothen said.

“There’s go­ing to be some sprin­kling, but just a lit­tle,” she said. “But ev­ery lit­tle bit helps.”

Things could change Sun­day. The Na­tional Weather Ser­vice is pre­dict­ing a small chance of light­ning with­out pre­cip­i­ta­tion, which is known as dry light­ning.

“It is one of the big­gest starters of fires — other than man-made ones — in the West,” said Brett Al­bright, a me­te­o­rol­o­gist with the NWS. “It is a high con­cern any time we see dry air and thun­der­storms that are not pro­duc­ing enough pre­cip­i­ta­tion.”

Al­bright em­pha­sized that the chance of dry light­ning and the risk it brings is “min­i­mal, but there’s still a small threat.”

Thun­der­storms with heavy rain are ex­pected to ar­rive in the burn ar­eas in the next few days, in­creas­ing a chance of flood­ing and mud­slides.

Al­bright said it was too early to tell when the most sig­nif­i­cant rain would fall.

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