'Bluecut' Fire now 85 percent contained; all evacuation orders lifted
DEVORE, Calif. (FOX 11/ AP) - Approximately 82,000 people ordered to leave their properties Tuesday when the fire broke out 60 miles east of Los Angeles have now been permitted to return.
"This fire did not go through a dense community, like some fires do," fire spokesman Costa Dillon said Sunday. "Almost all of this area is sparsely populated."
The once-fast moving blaze that burned nearly 58 square miles was 83 percent contained Sunday morning, up from 73 percent the evening before. Firefighters were going property-to-property in the areas most heavily hit.
"You don't want somebody to come back to a neighborhood where a fire could suddenly flare up on the property next door from something still smoldering," Dillon said.
Fire officials briefed residents at an evacuation center Sunday morning at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds where about 15 residents remained. Dillon said the residents were "very pleased" to know the Lytle Creek area was open and that those still under evacuation orders were being patient.
A prolonged drought has transformed swaths of California into tinderboxes, ready to ignite. Six other wildfires were burning in the state, including one in San Luis Obispo County that forced the closure of the historic Hearst Castle on Saturday. It remained closed Sunday.
In rural Santa Barbara County, a 15-square-mile wildfire forced the evacuation of two campgrounds.
In Northern California, fire crews were gaining control Sunday on an arson fire that destroyed 189 homes. Officials said the 6-square-mile fire in Lower Lake was 95 percent contained.
Evacuations as of Sunday:
Effective Sunday, August 21st, at 4:00 p.m., the evacuation orders for Wrightwood, Swarthout Canyon, Lone Pine Canyon, West Cajon Valley and Lytle Creek have all been lifted. RESIDENTS ONLY will be allowed past the road closures (with proof of address).
The San Bernardino County Fairgrounds in Victorville continues to provide services to residents and their pets.
Jessie Turner Community Center Shelter remains open for Blue Cut Fire evacuees.
Animal evacuation shelters:
Apple Valley Animal Shelter (small animals)
22131 Powhatan Road
Apple Valley, CA 92308
San Bernardino County Fairgrounds
14800 7th Street
Victorville, CA 92395
Devore Animal Shelter (small animals)
19777 Shelter Valley
San Bernardino, CA
Road closures as of Sunday:
- Highway 138 is open to residents only from Hwy 2 to Stone Basin Road.
- Hwy 138 at Stone Basin Road to Interstate 15 is closed to allow emergency equipment in the area to replace power poles affected by the fire.
- Lone Pine Canyon Road at Swarthout Canyon Road to Hwy 138 is closed.
- US Forest Road 3N31 at Lone Pine Canyon Road is closed.
- The dirt road portion of Lytle Creek Road is closed from the gun range into the forest.