Crews fight­ing fire catch break

The Lake blaze is 50% con­tained as light rain falls, but storms pose a new set of prob­lems for fire­fight­ers.

Los Angeles Times - - THE STATE - By Kim Christensen kim. christensen @ latimes. com

Fire­fight­ers try­ing to rein in an 11- day- old wild­fire in the San Bernardino Moun­tains got a lit­tle help Sun­day as light rain fell over the area.

By early af­ter­noon, “a pretty good cell of showers” was mov­ing through the In­land Em­pire, in­clud­ing where the Lake f ire con­tin­ued to burn about 30,700 acres, said Uriah Her­nan­dez, a spokesman for the U. S. For­est Ser­vice.

“If any­thing, it does help slow the f ire’s pro­gres­sion,” he said.

The f ire was 50% con­tained by Sun­day, but of­fi­cials said they ex­pected that fig­ure to rise through­out the day as f ire crews con­tin­ued to gain ground north and east of Onyx Peak.

Nearly 2,300 f ire­fight­ers have bat­tled the blaze on the ground and from the air since it started June 17, at a cost thus far of $ 27 mil­lion. Four f ire­fight­ers have been in­jured.

The cause of the f ire is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

It has con­sumed one res­i­dence and three out­build­ings in the Burns Canyon area, which re­mained un­der an evac­u­a­tion or­der Sun­day.

All other evac­u­a­tions have been lifted, but U. S. For­est Ser­vice recre­ation ar­eas in the wild­fire zone re­mained closed.

Hik­ing trails in the San Gor­gonio Wilder­ness area re­mained closed, as did the Pa­cific Crest Trail from White­wa­ter Pre­serve to Onyx Sum­mit.

State Route 38 has been re­opened to traf­fic, but lo­cal camp­grounds re­mained closed and ac­cess from the route “will con­tinue to be re­stricted to camp staff and recre­ation res­i­dence own­ers only,” the For­est Ser­vice said on its web­site.

Na­tional Weather Ser­vice fore­cast­ers say the f ire area will con­tinue to ex­pe­ri­ence “mon­soonal mois­ture” and the threat of thun­der­storms through Fri­day.

“Dry light­ning is kind of an is­sue tonight and to­mor­row,” me­te­o­rol­o­gist Rich Thompson said. “As the week wears on, the storms will be wet­ter. But that also im­pacts crews be­cause it can make roads muddy and causes its own prob­lems for fire­fight­ers.”

Above- nor­mal tem­per­a­tures and hu­mid­ity will blan­ket all of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia this week, Thompson said, cre­at­ing a chance for showers and thun­der­storms in coastal re­gions overnight Sun­day, as well as in the moun­tains and deserts.

Pho­tog r aphs by Lawrence K. Ho Los An­ge­les Times

BIG BEAR res­i­dents welcome f ire crews. Nearly 2,300 f iref ighters have bat­tled the blaze that started June 17, and four have been in­jured.

A WORKER un­loads f ire hoses in Big Bear. Weather fore­cast­ers say the area will ex­pe­ri­ence “mon­soonal mois­ture” and a threat of thun­der­storms through Fri­day.

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