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Northbound lanes of Interstate 15 reopened; brush fire along Cajon Pass continues to burn [Updated]

September 2, 2011 |  3:50 pm

View Hesperia fire in a larger map

Three northbound I-15 lanes have reopened after a fast-moving brush fire along the Cajon Pass swept through the area, scorching more than 500 acres and prompting the evacuation of several San Bernardino County neighborhoods.

Holiday-weekend traffic is being escorted by the California Highway Patrol, said Terry Kasinga, a Caltrans spokeswoman. In Fontana, some vehicles are backing up on the shoulder to get off the freeway, she said, but traffic is slowly moving.

Southbound lanes of the freeway --  which are coated with fire retardant dropped by air crews -- are expected to remain closed for an extended period between Highway 138 and Interstate 395, Kasinga said.

“That closure could possibly be through the night,” she said.

Kasinga said the fire burned out a couple of Caltrans traffic cameras on the freeway in the Oak Hill area.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department called for evacuations in the Oak Hills area on Elk Ridge/Oak Hills Road.

An evacuation center has been set up at Baldy Mesa Elementary School, 10376 Baldy Mesa Road, between Avenal Street and Bonanza Road. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

[Update, 4:10 p.m.: Brandt Maxwell, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said the good news is that the winds have not been strong and could decrease slightly over the weekend
“Wind speeds as a whole will be moderate, and it’s usually when you get the strong winds that the fire danger is very high,” he said.

Maxwell added that while humidity levels will remain relatively low over the weekend, that could improve a bit in the next few days.]


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