6 firefighters entrapped while defending homes against wildfire

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SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – Six firefighters became entrapped by the “Blue Cut” wildfire while defending homes and assisting evacuations in the Cajon Pass area Tuesday, officials said.

The six firefighters were part of the two San Bernardino County Fire Department and assigned to the Swarthout Canyon – west of Cajon Pass. They were able to shelter in place in a nearby building, SBCF spokeswoman Tracey Martinez said.

Two of the firefighters suffered minor injuries and were taken to a hospital for a short period of time. They returned to the fire line and began defending buildings, Martinez said.

The fast-moving blaze was first reported at 2 acres about 10:55 a.m. near the 15 Freeway and exploded to about 15,000 acres by 9 p.m., according to the incident information page on the fire. The blaze is 0 percent contained and mostly heavy brush is burning in the mountainous area.

“There is eminent threat to public safety, rail traffic and structures in the Cajon Pass, Lytle Creek, Wrightwood and surrounding areas,” according to the Inciweb page.

Residents should be prepared to evacuate and know the safest routes. Fire officials said if evacuations are ordered, residents should leave as soon as possible to avoid being caught in fire, smoke or road congestion.

Residents who refuse to evacuate put their own life and other people’s lives at risk.

About 700 fire personnel are on scene. Mandatory evacuations were issued for West Cajon Valley from state Route 2 to Interstate 15 as well as Lytle Creek, Lone Pine Canyon, Swarthout Canyon and the community of Baldy Mesa, north of Plelan Road.

An unknown number of structures have been damaged and destroyed.

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