New evacuations ordered for Big Bear area as Radford fire advances

The Radford fire burning on the mountain slopes just south of Big Bear Lake continued to chew up acres of dry forest on Tuesday, Sept. 6, as fire crews attempted to get a handle on the growing blaze.

New evacuation orders were announced around 4:30 p.m. for the Moonridge neighborhood, from Summit Boulevard to the west,  to Club View Drive to the east and Evergreen Drive to the north,  the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said.

An evacuation warning was issued around 5:45 p.m. for areas east of Club View Drive to Angeles Camp Road, as well as from Highway 18 to the north to the areas between Deer Canyon and Sand Canyon Road to the south, according to county officials.

By 8 p.m., the fire had grown to 917 acres with 2 percent containment, the San Bernardino National Forest said.  Fire officials said they were attacking the fire with at least 16 air tankers that were dropping water and fire retardant on the blaze.

Containment is the amount of the fire area that is surrounded by a line that officials believe the flames will not jump.

The blaze ignited Monday afternoon amid a scorching heatwave, bringing with it days of record-breaking heat and calls for residents to conserve energy. An excessive heat warning remains in effect through Thursday evening.

At least 471 firefighters and other personnel assigned to the fire continued to work amid those high temperatures as they trudged through steep terrain.

The high temperature for Tuesday at Big Bear Lake was 88 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. Big Bear Lake and the San Bernardino Mountains are often a place for Southern California residents to seek reprieve from the searing heat in the valleys below. San Bernardino’s high temperature reached 108 degrees Tuesday, the NWS reported.

With the fire advancing near the property of the Snow Summit Ski Resort and Skyline Drive, a looping forest service trail, the Sheriff’s Department started ordering more evacuations Tuesday.

Residents living in the area between Pineknot Trail in the north to the Skyline Trail in the south, and from Castlerock Trail in the west to Knickerbocker Road in the east were asked to leave.

The Sheriff’s Department later added evacuations for Beverly Lane South and the forest road 2N08.

Evacuations were still in place from Glass Road to South Fork River Road, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

At the nearby Bear Mountain and Snow Summit ski resorts, staff were using the sprinklers associated with snow-making equipment in both defensive and offensive efforts, according to Justin Kanton, spokesman for Big Bear Mountain Resort, which manages the resorts. At the direction of fire crews, the resorts have used their snow-making equipment to both wet surrounding fuels as well as fight flames, Kanton said.

“We’ve been soaking down facilities to make sure they have some defense and there have been some incidents of flares today where the sprinklers have been used to suppress them,” Kanton said.

The fire prompted the closure of Highway 38 between Mill Creek and Lakewood roads, according to Caltrans. As of Tuesday afternoon, those closures remained in place, with no estimated reopening immediately clear, Caltrans said.

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