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Man made El Dorado Fire, now at 8,600 acres, spreads into Riverside County

Man made El Dorado Fire, now at 8,600 acres, spreads into Riverside County
Photo: CalFire firefighter Bo Santiago lights a backfire…. AP.

#Update:

The El Dorado Fire in Southern California’s San Bernardino County hasscorched 10,574 acres and was 16% contained as of Tuesday, according to fire officials, who say it’s “one of the most dangerous fires” they’ve seen in the area.

The fire was caused by a “smoke-generating pyrotechnic device” used at a party on Saturday morning in El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa, about 70 miles east of Los Angeles, Cal Fire investigators determined.

More than 20,000 have been evacuated.

The El Dorado wildfire above Yucaipa was caused by a pyrotechnic device used to generate smoke during a gender reveal party.

More than 20,000 people were evacuated due to the El Dorado fire, a 8,600-acre blaze ignited by a gender reveal at El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said on Monday, Sept. 7, the third day of the blaze.

The fire rapidly doubled in size to 7,050 acres Sunday, Sept. 6, then briefly slowed down overnight before picking up again about 3:30 a.m. It jumped to 8,600 acres by noon Monday, causing evacuation orders to spread into Riverside County.

The 619 firefighters working the blaze managed to reach 7% containment as of Monday, Sept. 7.

Containment does not mean how much of a fire has been put out. Rather, it represents a border firefighters have created around the perimeter of a blaze to keep it from spreading.

That means a border has been created around 7% of the El Dorado Fire.

Representatives from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, aka Cal Fire, said a smoke-generating pyrotechnic device that was used during the photo op on Sept. 5 allegedly sparked the El Dorado fire, which is burning near Oak Glen in San Bernardino County.

Initially described as a party, a Cal Fire spokesperson later said the photo shoot only involved immediate family members. During the shoot, a small cylindrical device that burns chemicals to produce colored smoke ignited the grass, according to Bennet Milloy, a captain specialist with Cal Fire.

The family tried to extinguish the fire themselves, then called 911 and remained on scene until firefighters arrived, Cal Fire Capt. Bennet Milloy said.

The individual responsible for lighting the device has not been arrested at this time. Investigators will send a report to the district attorney’s office and charges will be filed at a later date, Milloy said.

The violations likely will include several charges that qualify as “wobblers,” laws. In criminal law, a “wobbler” refers to a crime that can be punished as either a felony or a misdemeanor. It was originally created to make sure the criminal justice system has flexibility. … Only certain crimes can be considered wobblers, for example murder or manslaughter would not be considered “wobbler” crimes.

The flames initially spread from El Dorado Ranch Park onto Yucaipa Ridge, then split. A more active fire dropped toward the Pine Bench Area near Oak Glen Road, while a slower fire continued to burn above the communities of Mountain Home Village and Forest Falls, officials said.

Firefighters staged near at-risk communities to stop the flames.

Chris George, a spokesperson for the California Interagency Incident Management Team 11, said crews started controlled burns near Tom’s Farms on Oak Glen Monday afternoon in an attempt to direct the El Dorado fire toward areas already scarred from the Apple Fire, which burned through most of August and consumed more than 33,400 acres, including four homes.

There have been no reported injuries at this time, he said

Mandatory evacuation orders are in place for the following area as of Monday afternoon: east of Bryant Street from Carter Street south to Yucaipa Boulevard, then east on Yucaipa from Bryant intersection to Freemont Street, then south to Grande View Drive, then along Avenue E southeast to the intersection of Mesa Grande, east to Wildwood Canyone Road, including all portions of Hidden Meadows, and east to Edgar Canyon Road.

An evacuation order was also in place in Mountain Home Village and Forest Falls. Shortly before noon Monday, evacuation orders spread to Riverside County, that county’s Emergency Management Department said. The evacuation orders are for the Cherry Valley area, north of Cherry Street to the county line.

The American Red Cross has set up an evacuation center at the Yucaipa Community Center, 34900 Oak Glen Road.

Anyone evacuating animals are directed to the Devore Animal Shelter, 19777 Shelter Way in Devore, or Big Bear Animal Shelter at North Shore Drive and Stanfield Cutoff.

The Red Cross said it provided hotel rooms for 53 families — 118 people total — on Sunday night and will continue assessing shelter needs.

With thousands of residents prompted to evacuate, many are finding difficulty locating hotel rooms – particularly if they have pets.

The following roads were closed Monday.

Highway 38 at Bryant Street and at Angelus Oaks;

Bryant Street between Highway 38 and Carter Street;

Oak Glen Road between Pine Bench Road and Cherry Croft Drive;

Cross streets east of Bryant Street, between Yucaipa Boulevard and Carter Street.

All of the San Gorgonio Wilderess, except for the Pacific Crest Trail, is also closed to the public.

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