Evacuations Lifted in Forest Falls as Fires Continue to Burn Across SoCal

Mandatory evacuation orders for the small community of Forest Falls were lifted as a fire—one of several in Southern California—showed no growth while continuing to burn in the mountains east of San Bernardino Sunday evening.

Some 500 fire personnel responded to the Valley Fire, which exploded Friday afternoon in the area of Valley of the Falls Drive and Service Road 1S08.

Authorities said by that evening, it jumped from 400 acres to 1,000 acres in size in 20 minutes. On Sunday, the estimated acreage increased to 1,139.

Containment reached 5 percent on Saturday and stayed the same the next day, Cal Fire said.

According to the agency's latest update, smoke was visible in the Inland Empire as flames moved higher into the San Gorgonio Wilderness area.

Thunderstorms caused a debris flow on Highway 38 at milepost 14, Cal Fire added.

Officials shut down access to Valley of the Falls Drive and could not provide an estimate for when it will reopen. Bryant Street in Yucaipa to Lake Williams Drive, south of Big Bear, were also closed, including for residents.

The closure of Highway 38 from Big Bear through Angelus Oaks was lifted while the area of the highway between Angelus Oaks and Forest Falls remained closed Sunday night.

Cal Fire said although Saturday's rain moderated the fire, conditions in the forest were still very dry due to the drought.

The Big Falls picnic area and the Momyer Creek, Vivian Creek and San Bernardino Peak trails remained closed.

Members of the Forest Falls community, which listed just under 900 residents in the 2010 census, could go to the evacuation center set up at the Inland Leaders Charter School in nearby Yucaipa. Animals could be taken to the Devore Animal Shelter in San Bernardino.

Other fires in California

The Valley Fire in San Bernardino County was just one of several fires that broke out in Southern California on Friday, when a heat wave brought record-breaking temperatures to the region.

Just north of that blaze, in nearby Inyo County, the Georges Fire grew to 750 acres — burning through more than 600 acres within just three hours. It was still 0 percent contained just after 7 p.m.

In 110-degree heat, firefighters battled the Box Fire that singed 100 acres off the 15 Freeway near the Cajon  Pass. The blaze was 60 percent contained, according to forest officials.

The Creek Fire near Highway 330 had burned through 33 acres and was 93 percent contained by early Sunday evening.

The Holiday Fire in Goleta damaged or destroyed an estimated 22 structures, including homes, and prompted Gov. Jerry Brown to declare at state in emergency in Santa Barbara County. County officials said by 7 a.m. Sunday, the fire has burned 100 acres and was 80 percent contained. It's estimated to be fully contained on Wednesday.

Cal Fire said crews have stopped the forward spread of the West Fire in the Alpine area of the Cuyamaca Mountains in San Diego County. It has burned 504 acres and was 92 percent contained on Sunday.

Near the Oregon border, local authorities in Siskiyou County on Friday said one person was found dead in a structure as the Klamathon Fire burned. Cal Fire said as of Sunday evening, the blaze has scorched 35,000 acres and was 25 percent contained.