Residents were ordered to evacuate as firefighters battled a wildfire that burned more than 2,000 acres in the Yucaipa area Saturday.
The blaze, dubbed the El Dorado Fire, was reported around 10:40 a.m. in the 37000 block of Oak Glen Road. At the time, it was at just 5 acres but was spreading rapidly, according to Cal Fire San Bernardino. At 9 p.m., fire officials estimated the fire was 2,159 acres with 5% containment.
Residents were ordered to flee the communities of Oak Glen, Mountain Home Village, Forest Falls and the eastern section of Yucaipa. Those living east of Jefferson Street from Oak Glen Road to Yucaipa Ridge were also told to evacuate. Residents in the Yucaipa bench area were under evacuation warnings.
About an hour after erupting, the fire had quickly consumed 400 acres, fire officials said, describing the flames’ rate of spread as “moderate to dangerous.” By around 2 p.m., it had doubled in size to 800 acres.
“This fire was very angry when we arrived today… we saw 40 to 50 foot flame lengths that were just shooting up out of this brush and very fast-moving fire,” San Bernardino County Fire Chief Dan Munsey said.
By 6 p.m., the blaze had ripped through 1,500 acres and crews had it 5% contained, dropping fire retardant lines to keep the flames from spreading to homes in Oak Glen.
Aerial video from Sky5 showed the fire burning close to a house as crews dropped water from overhead, battling the flames under a thick cloud of smoke in triple-digit temperatures.
Officials closed a section of the San Gorgonio Wilderness due to the fire, with hikers at the Vivian Creek, San Bernardino Peak and Momyer trailheads told to stop their trips and head back to their vehicles. Recreation sites and trailheads are also closed in the Forest Falls and Mountain Home Village areas, according to San Bernardino National Forest officials.
The flames destroyed one outbuilding in the fire area. No injuries were reported as of 4 p.m., fire officials said.
Those fleeing their homes can head to Yucaipa Community Center as a temporary evacuation facility, fire officials said.
The flames broke out as Southern California was sweltering under a heat wave, with Yucaipa recording a temperature of 108 degrees at the time of the fire. Nearby Oak Glen saw a temperature of 93.
It’s unclear what sparked the blaze and no further details were immediately available.