Firefighters have recently made a tremendous amount of progress in the containment of the massive Pilot Fire US Forest service officials said. This over 12 square mile fire has amazingly, due to firefighter efforts, spared all structures in its path. As of Thursday evening, US Forest Service officials said the fire is 7899 acres and now, 70% contained.
This progress allowed for all schools in the Apple Valley, Hesperia and Oro Grande Districts to be reopened. In addition to the schools being reopened, on Thursday, August 11, 2016, at around noon all voluntary evacuations were lifted. This allowed for those who were away from their homes as part of voluntary evacuations, to return home.
These residents include those from the City of Hesperia, Town of Apple Valley, and community of Summit Valley were able to go home to open roads. Road closures once in place on Arrowhead Lake Road from Hesperia Lakes to Hwy 173, Hwy 173 from Hwy 138 through Summit Valley, and Deep Creek Road from Rock Springs Road to the Spillway are now open.
The mandatory evacuation area in the mountains remain closed as of Thursday evening. The Pacific Crest Trail remains closed from Deep Creek Hot Springs to Silverwood Lake State Recreation area. Miller Canyon Off-Highway vehicle area is also closed. Forest roads also remain closed including 2N33, 2N17X, 2N36 and 2N37.
The estimated containment date for the fire, according to USFS officials is expected to be Sunday, August 14, 2014. On Thursday afternoon Hesperia and Apple Valley residents expressed concern about the increased smoke in the area. “Increased fire activity and smoke in the area is from interior burning, no threat to containment lines,” San Bernardino County Fire Department spokesman, Marc Peebles explained in a Twitter tweet.
The wind-driven fire is being fueled by chaparral and brush. “Aircraft are being used to aid in slowing fire progression until containment lines can be constructed in the areas north and northwest of Deer Lodge Park,” USNF officials said.
The Victorville Fairgrounds closed on August 10th, allowing animal owners until August 11th at noon to remove their animals. Those not removed were transported to the Devore Animal Shelter located at 19777 Shelter Way in the City of San Bernardino. The Devore Animal Shelter is now the shelter to take both small and large animals from evacuated areas to.
The Red Cross Evacuation Center is set up at the Rim of the World High School located at 27400 Hwy 18 in Twin Peaks. The Southern California Interagency Incident Management Team 3 (So Cal IMT 3), in a news release, thanked the public for their desire and willingness to support those fighting the fires by taking donations to the command posts.
“So Cal IMT 3 asks the community to consider other local organizations and causes that may have a need for donations or assistance as a result of the fire,” the release stated. “In the coming days, these organizations will become more evident as they assist those directly impacted by the Fire. This fire has once again demonstrated how generous the residents of San Bernardino County truly are.”
The cause of the fire, although unofficial, is an off-road vehicle fire that was reported, per CHP incident logs, on Sunday, August 7, 2016, at 12:05 p.m. near SR-138 and Pilot Rock.
Current resources include 1324 personnel which includes; 51 Crews, 81 Engines, 19 Dozers,15 Water Tenders, 12 Helicopters, and 8 Air Tankers.
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