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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Fast Moving Cajon Pass Fire

By Douglas V. Gibbs
Author, Speaker, Instructor, Radio Host

As I drove west along Interstate 10 through the Beaumont-Banning Pass Area, I could see the smoke in the distance.  It looked to be a good-sized fire.  After arriving in Corona to teach my Constitution Class, the plumes of smoke looked even more menacing.  It is being called the Blue Cut fire, and according to reports it ripped through 1,500 acres in the first two hours.  Now, only five and a half hours old, the fire has scorched 5,500 acres.  Burning now on both sides of the freeway, Interstate 15 is being doused in smoke and heat on an already hot day that in many areas of the Southland is above 100 degrees.

San Bernardino County firefighters, San Bernardino National Forest officials, U.S. Forest Service firefighters, county sheriff’s officials and and California Highway Patrol officers have responded.  500 firefighters, 57 engines, 8 fire crews one helicopter, and 10 air tankers were on the scene as of 3 p.m.

As a result of California's drought the dead brush fuel for the fire is drier than ever, and plentiful.  Several structures have been damaged or destroyed.  A residential neighborhood may be in danger if the winds shift in the wrong direction.  Among those who evacuated the area were members of All Nations Mission in Swarthout Canyon.

Interstate 15 Freeway through the lower portion of the Cajon Pass has been closed, as well as California State Highway 138 California 2 to Interstate 15.

Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for West Cajon Valley and Lytle Creek.  Students at Kimbark Elementary School had also been evacuated and relocated to Cesar Chavez School in San Bernardino.

The National Weather Service has issued a red-flag warning through Thursday evening for gusty winds, low humidity and hot temperatures in Los Angeles and Ventura County mountains, perfect conditions for a raging wildfire.

Another major fire is also burning in Northern California.  So far the Clayton Fire has burned 4,000 acres in Lake County, nearly obliterating entire neighborhoods and causing thousands to flee.

In July of 2015 a fire also burned through the Cajon Pass area, with that one burning up vehicles on the freeway in the process as heavy traffic left no motorists a path to flee.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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