The wildfire currently destroying 10,000 acres of forest, and potentially threatening the lives of countless Californians, was started during a gender reveal party according to San Bernardino County officials.
A “smoke generating pyrotechnic device” ignited the fire at around 10:23 am Sept. 5, in the El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa, authorities stated. “The fire spread from the park to the north on to Yucaipa Ridge that separates Mountain Home Village and Forest Falls from the City of Yucaipa.”
By Labor Day, Cal Fire reported fire had spread over 7,050 ares of forest near the communities of Oak Glen, Yucaipa Ridge, Mountain Home Village and Forest Falls.
“In my 30 years as a citizen in Yucaipa, I have never seen such a large fire,” Yucaipa Mayor David Avila said during a press conference on Labor Day. “As a retired firefighter with 32 years of experience, I can assure you I witnessed one of the most dangerous fires that we can have in this area.”
A video tweeted by the Lieutenant of the Emergency Operations Division at San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department shows smoke from the fires rising out of the forested hills.
“Fire is now 7050 acres with 5% containment,” Lt. Mahan wrote. “Still encroaching on the Oak Glen area & eastern Yucaipa. Evacuation orders extended to everything East of Bryant down to Yucaipa Blvd. Multiple SBSD Stations sending personnel to assist with evacuations. Video-Oak Glen Rd #Eldoradofire.”
The San Bernadino National Forest account posted an update about an hour later.
“#ElDoradoFire evening update: Weather will remain dry/hot throughout night w/an elevated temp + relative humidity at 20%,” the SBNF posted. “Winds will remain downslope at 3-5 mph w/gusts to 10. This will result in continued active fire behavior throughout the night.”
Those in the Yucaipa bench area have been warned to evacuate before the fire spreads further. In the meantime, the Yucaipa Community Center is serving as a temporary evacuation facility
Nearly 530 personnel in 10 fire department crews are now working to control the blaze, making use of 60 engines, four helicopters, 10 bulldozers, and other equipment.
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.