Cloudy weather aids wildfire fight
Highway 38 reopens, evacuations lifted as San Bernardino forest blaze 50% contained.
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.