500-acre South Fire burns 2 structures, prompts evacuations in Lytle Creek area


Evacuations were in place as crews battled the 500-acre South Fire in the Lytle Creek area that had burned at least two structures Wednesday.

The blaze began around 1:45 p.m. and was burning near the 15 Freeway, in the area of Lytle Creek and Duncan roads, north of the Glen Helen Parkway.

The flames were 0% contained as of about 6:30 p.m., according to the San Bernardino County Fire Department. The fire was being held at 300 acres, the department said just before 4 p.m., though they updated the figured to 250 acres less than an hour later and to 500 acres just before 7 p.m.

At least 600 homes in the area were being threatened as of 6 p.m. and evacuations were ordered for some 1,000 residents, according to Cal Fire San Bernardino.

Evacuations were in place on Lytle Creek Road, both north and south of the Forest Service ranger station, west of Sierra Avenue, north of the 15 Freeway, and east of Duncan Canyon to the foothills, according the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

An order to shelter in place is in effect in all areas north of the ranger station at 1209 Lytle Creek Road, the Sheriff’s Department said.

Crews were going door to door to get people out, Bennett Malloy of Cal Fire San Bernardino said.

An evacuation shelter has been established at the Jessie Turner Center located at 15556 Summit Ave. in Fontana. An evacuation center for large animals is also available at the Devore Animal Shelter.

Sky5 was over the blaze just after 3 p.m. as aerial video showed structures burning. Authorities confirmed at least two structures had burned, and a man told KTLA he had lost him home on Lytle Creek Road.

Flames could also be seen burning near transmission lines, which distribute power across the state, according to Malloy.

“They could cause a larger area outage,” he said. “It’s also dangerous for firefighters on the ground. … There’s a very real threat to the firefighters working below or beside them that they could be electrocuted.”

The flames are being fueled by winds of 25 to 30 mph, Malloy said.

“We’re at kind of a pivotal point here, this time in the afternoon. It’s hot, it’s windy. We’re expecting more winds tonight,” Malloy said. “Those are going to present challenges for these firefighters. These canyons are very steep, it’s very rugged terrain, the vegetation is cured and ready to burn.”

At least 100 firefighters were at the scene, along with numerous air assets, the department said.

Homeowner Laura Mills says she made it home to evacuate her dogs and get her sprinklers running.

“We’re just hoping for the best,” Mills said. “I’m in my goggles and my gear because I’ve lived through this before.”

No injuries have been reported.

The causes of the fire remains under investigation.

Check back for updates to this developing story.

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