El Dorado Fire: Raging in steep and rugged terrain, 13,920-acre wildfire is 37% contained

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The El Dorado Fire grew by about 200 acres Friday as ground crews worked to increase containment on the Yucaipa Ridge, officials said.

The blaze now covers 13,920 acres with 37% containment, up from 31% earlier in the day, according to San Bernardino National Forest officials.

Ground crews made “an incredible effort” to corral the flames, working aggressively to build the fire line on the north side of the Yucaipa Ridge with the help of aerial retardant and water drop, the fire officials said in an evening update.

In Mountain Home Village and Forest Falls, firefighters continued work to protect homes and build up containment along a creek.

Heavy smoke over the Wildwood Canyon area was the result of burning inside the fire’s perimeter, not a signal is was spreading further, officials said.

A dozer line was established to remove fuels south of Angeles Oaks and near the burn scar of the 2015 Lake Fire.

Overnight winds are expected to be 4-8 mph with gusts up to 12 mph, weaker than those during the day, although conditions would likely remain hot and dry with minimal humidity.

So far, the fire has damaged or destroyed six homes and eight outbuildings in the Oak Glen area.

“The hard work by the ground crews over the past several days has successfully held the fire behind Mountain Home Village along the fire control lines,” fire officials said. “Crews continue mop up and extinguish hot spots to protect the community.”

 Just east of Mountain Home Village, the fire on Thursday jumped across Highway 38, where rocks are tumbling down and blocking escape routes as flames rage on both sides of the road.

Crossing flames met with a dozer line that crews had created as “a fall back point.” They then began attacking the fire with hoses on the ground and with fire retardant from the air, working to stop it from advancing north.

The fast-moving blaze crossed Highway 38 a second time above the hairpin curve, running to an area scarred by the 2018 Valley Fire, which slowed it down since there was less foliage to fuel it.

“There was concern for ember cast and rollout overnight with a downslope wind influence,” fire officials said. “Crews are working diligently to patrol and work on the control line in this very difficult terrain.”

Crews of more than 1,240 firefighters have spent seven days battling the El Dorado Fire in steep and rugged terrain as Santa Ana winds fanned it uphill at times and light diurnal winds pushed it down slopes at other times.

High temperatures and critically low fuel moisture have made for a difficult battle, fire officials said.

The massive fire ignited Saturday morning after a mishap with a smoke-generating pyrotechnic device at a gender reveal party held during scorching hot temperatures in Yucaipa, according to Cal Fire.

The human-caused fire has forced thousands to flee their homes.

Residents in the red portion must evacuate immediately. Areas in the yellow are under evacuation warnings. Click here if you can’t view this map.

Evacuation orders 

  • All residents east of Bryant Street on Highway 38 including Mountain Home, Forest Falls, Angelus Oaks, Seven Oaks and Jenks Lake Area East to Onyx Summit.  
  • Oak Glen (partial, see map above)
  • From Highway 38, all areas west of Bryant, north of Carter, east of Jeffreys between Carter and Oak Glen Road, then north of Oak Glen Road from Cherry Croft Drive to Canyon, then east of Canyon Drive from Oak Glen Road to Wildwood Canyon Drive.
  • Areas north of Wildwood Canyon Drive from Canyon Drive to the junction with Oak Glen Road. 

Angelus Oaks and Seven Oaks residents have to drive north to Big Bear since Highway 38 is impacted by fire. 

Evacuation warnings 

  • Residents north of Oak Glen Road, west of Bryant Street, south of Highway 38 and east of Garnet.

Big Bear issued a Travel Advisory Notice Thursday, urging visitors to consider postponing their trips to the area due to the El Dorado Fire. 

The Red Cross temporary evacuation point is at Redlands East Valley High School on 31000 E. Colton Ave. in Redlands. Residents can call the Red Cross for evacuation assistance at 442-242-0946.

Road closures

  • Highway 38 between Bryant Street in Yucaipa and Onyx Summit.
  • Bryant Street Between Highway 38 and Carter Street.
  • Oak Glen Road between Pine Bench Road and Cherry Croft Drive.
  • Cross Streets East of Bryant Street Between Yucaipa Boulevard and Highway 38. 
  • Wildwood Canyon Drive between Mesa Grande and Oak Glen Road.

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