THE “HOLCOMB” FIRE BURNING NORTH AND EAST OF BIG BEAR, SOME ROAD CLOSURES

THE “HOLCOMB” FIRE BURNING NORTH AND EAST OF BIG BEAR, SOME ROAD CLOSURES

A wildfire raging north of Big Bear Lake has charred nearly 1,000 acres, prompting officials to issue voluntary evacuations and the closure of a mountain highway. The Holcomb fire is spreading rapidly, moving away from the San Bernardino National Forest’s most populated areas. Smoke from the fire has come into the Morongo Basin.
The fire was reported just after 3 p.m. off Holcomb Valley Road, north of Highway 18. It’s burning through heavy timber, tall grass and chaparral, fire officials said. There were no containment lines around the fire as of 8:30 this morning. Battalion Chief Mike Snow has been sent to the fire zone to lead a strike team, but no other local firefighters have been sent as of Tuesday morning.
There are voluntary evacuations for homes in the Baldwin Lake and Holcomb Valley areas and around the Big Bear dump, according to the County Sheriff’s Department and Big Bear Fire Department. The California Highway Patrol closed Highway 18 from Baldwin Lake Road north to the Mitsubishi Cement Plant just outside the forest boundary in Lucerne Valley.
There are also other local road closures. The Pacific Crest Trail is closed from Highway 18 to Van Dusen, and the Doble Trail and Tanglewood Group campgrounds are closed.
Eight air tankers, including a DC-10, six helicopters and a helitanker are working to help douse the flames. Winds of about 5 mph are blowing from the southeast with gusts up to 23 mph, according to a U.S. Forest Service statement. Fire officials are asking drone operators to stay away from the fire zone.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a smoke advisory late Monday warning air quality may reach unhealthy levels at least through Tuesday morning in portions of the eastern San Bernardino Mountains. An information line has been set up for the fire at 909-383-5688.

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