Cost of Battling Lake Fire Reaches $3.2 Million; 17,000-Acre Blaze is 19% Contained

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The cost of battling a more than 26-square-mile wildfire in the San Bernardino National Forest has reached $3.2 million dollars, authorities said Sunday, five days after the blaze erupted south of Big Bear.

A Los Padres strike team firefighter keeps his head down from the heat of a flare-up while lighting backfires against the Lake fire in the San Bernardino National Forest. (Credit: Fina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)

A Los Padres strike team firefighter keeps his head down from the heat of a flare-up while lighting backfires against the Lake fire in the San Bernardino National Forest. (Credit: Fina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)

The fire was 19 percent contained Sunday evening, having burned 17,050 acres of parched timber and grass, according to a multiagency news release.

No injuries have been reported. Although no structures have been damaged, about 500 were threatened by flames in the Barton Flats area and northeastern San Gorgonio Wilderness, officials said.

The cause of the Lake Fire has not been determined.

"Overall the growth of the fire has slowed," according to an update on InciWeb, a website maintained by the U.S. Forest Service and other federal agencies. The "low-intensity" blaze was being attacked with flame retardant, hoses and water drops from aircraft.

About 1,875 firefighters and support personnel were on the scene, with resources including 121 engines, five air tankers, 16 helicopters and seven bulldozers, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said, adding that $3,200,000 has been spent in efforts to control the fire.

The northern edge of the fire was marked by Highway 38, part of which was closed between Angelus Oaks and Lake Williams. "Most of the fire line has been built along the highway, and crews are making good progress in the Heart Bar area," the update said.

A fire helicopter scoops up water from Jenks Lake as it works to control flames in the Big Bear area. (Credit: Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times)

A fire helicopter scoops up water from Jenks Lake as it works to control flames in the Big Bear area. (Credit: Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times)

The blaze has not advanced past its eastern perimeter at the Pacific Crest Trail, and was moving "very little" in Hell for Sure Canyon. The trail was shut down between Whitewater Preserve and Onyx Summit, as were all hiking trails into the San Gorgonio Wilderness.

Mandatory evacuation orders were still in place for areas east of Angelus Oaks, Onyx Summit, Barton Flats, Seven Oaks, Heart Bar and homes near Rainbow Lane.

Although a “contingency division” had been established for the Morongo Valley and Pioneertown areas near State Route 62, no evacuations were ordered for those locations, according to authorities.

Amid high temperatures, winds are expected to continue pushing smoke in an easterly direction. A smoke advisory, issued by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, remained in effect due to expected unhealthy air quality in the Coachella Valley, the eastern San Bernardino Mountains, and portions of eastern Riverside County.