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Slide & Grass Valley Fire Archives & Updates

For breaking fire coverage, as it happened, you can scroll down to bottom of page.

July 23, 2008


Though Cause Still Under Investigation, U.S. Forest Service Releases Fuels Report on Grass Valley Fire
Though the U.S. Forest Service is still investigating the cause of the Grass Valley Fire, which started on October 22 and ultimately burned 1,247 acres in the Lake Arrowhead area, destroyed 174 homes and damaged another 25 before being contained on October 29, a report has just been released on the effectiveness of fuels treatments during the fire. The two-part report, available online at the website of the San Bernardino National Forest [fs.fed.us/r5/sanbernardino/news/], details researchers' findings, including the following: Fire behavior in fuel treatment areas was less rapid and less intense than in adjacent untreated wildland fuel; fuel treatments reduced fire spread rate and allowed for improved visibility for firefighters; efforts of The Mountain Area Safety Taskforce hazard reduction program enhanced safe evacuation of thousands due to previous dead tree removal (so trees were not in roadways and ember production was reduced); the Grass Valley Fire burned more intensely within residential areas than in adjacent wildland fuels; and although torching and crowning occurred, the wildfire did not spread as a continuously crowning, high intensity fire. The report states that with the exception of six homes of the 199 damaged or destroyed in the Grass Valley Fire, high intensity wildfire was not a direct factor in igniting homes. For 193 of those homes, it was found that they were ignited either by fire spread through surface fuels within the residential area that then contacted homes or from thermal exposures directly related to burning residences. The Forest Service report findings say that firefighters were overwhelmed in their attempt to prevent the residential fire spread due to multiple homes burning simultaneously, though more homes would have burned without their intervention. The residential fire disaster of the Grass Valley Fire--which spread south through wildland fuels before transitioning to urban structural fuels—was principally the result of high home ignition potential. In the words of Forest Service, “The wildfire initiated the residential burning, but burning homes predominantly continued the fire spread to other homes without the wildfire as a significant factor.”

May 22, 2008

KBHR Exclusive: October's Slide Fire, Which Started Seven Months Ago, Is Result of Butler #2 Fire
It has been seven months, today, since the Slide and Grass Valley Fires broke out within just three hours of each other on the morning of Monday, October 22. By October 31st, both fires had been 100% contained, thanks to as many as 2,400 firefighters on scene at one time, though not before 14,006 acres had been burned and 520 structures damaged or destroyed in the Slide and Grass Valley Fires, which prompted mandatory evacuations for Green Valley Lake, Lake Arrowhead, Running Springs and neighboring communities. After months of inquiry, the U.S. Forest Service has released the cause of ignition for the Slide Fire, which originated in the vicinity of Green Valley Lake off Forest Service road 2N13. In an exclusive to KBHR News, John Miller with the U.S. Forest Service says, “The U.S. Forest Service did an exhaustive administrative review and, per our fire investigators, it was determined that the Slide Fire is indeed related to the Butler #2 Fire, as this was during a high Santa Ana wind condition with single digit humidity levels. According to U.S. Forest Service investigators, either an undetected ember was carried outside the contained Butler #2 Fire area or possibly carried through the root system.” Winds on the morning of October 22 reached up to 60 miles per hour in our area and were reportedly gusting up to 70 miles per hour in the Snow Valley area, in the vicinity of the Slide Fire's ignition point. The Butler #2 Fire, which began on September 14, and at that time was ranked the number one priority wildland fire incident in the nation, had been 100% contained by September 21st--though in the days leading up to the Slide Fire, up to 75 firefighting personnel did remain on scene, extinguishing hot spots within the perimeter of the burn area. The Butler #2 Fire was, for similar reasons, the result of the original Butler Fire, which began on September 1st as a result of a lightning strike during a Labor Day weekend thunderstorm. As for the Slide and Grass Valley Fires, which were under a shared incident command, the burned acreage specific to the Slide Fire was 12,759 acres and resulted in a 12-day mandatory evacuation for residents of Green Valley Lake. The U.S. Forest Service reports that the Grass Valley Fire remains under investigation.

April 23, 2008


Forest Service Seeks Public Input on Fuels Reduction Project for Burn Areas of Butler #2 and Slide Fires

On Monday evening at the Discovery Center, the San Bernardino National Forest hosted the first of two community meetings to discuss their proposed fuels reduction project for the over 26,000 acres of burn area of September's Butler #2 Fire and October's Slide Fire. At present, the Forest Service is considering all potential fuels removal options, including prescribed fire and mechanical thinning, and yet will maintain efforts to minimize the impact to the soil, water, botany and wildlife, while tree planting is also planned. In portions of the burned areas, there are hundreds of standing dead trees which, when they fall over in the course of the next decade, per the Forest Service, pose a wildfire threat as this will create a heavy fuel bed of dry, dead, fallen trees. The entire project will be located north of Highway 18, from Running Springs to Fawnskin, in and directly adjacent to the Butler #2 Fire and Slide Fire boundaries. One of the proposed treatments will be intensive fuels reduction and removal within 300 feet of communities, road edges and existing fire lines. Public input is welcome on the proposed fuels reduction project through May 7. A decision on the project is anticipated to be made by September's end, so that implementation can begin as soon as late Fall 2008. The second of two community meetings will be held in Running Springs at 5pm this evening at the Hootman Senior Center, at 2929 Running Springs School Road. Information on the Forest Service's proposed fuels reduction project is also available online at fs.fed.us/r5/sanbernardino/projects/bulterslide.shtml.

March 3, 2008


Thanks to the Big Bear community, the Mountain Aid Project Bowl-a-Thon raised $30,000 to benefit
those who suffered as a result of the Slide and Grass Valley Fires. Those present for Sunday's check
presentation to Rebuilding Mountain Hearts and Lives included Big Bear Lake Mayor Rick Herrick,
Bev Rios of RMHL, Bowling Barn owner Bill Ross, MAP coordinator ET Russell, Jamie Wolcott
of County Supervisor Hansberger's office, and Cheryl Nagy of RMHL.


February 19, 2008


Four Months After Fires, Rebuilding Mountain Hearts and Lives Is Doing Just That

As it has been nearly four months since the Slide and Grass Valley Fires broke out on October 22, the staff and volunteers of the non-profit Rebuilding Mountain Hearts and Lives have been busy fostering recovery for those affected by the fires in communities to our west. RMHL's Executive Director Dave Stuart tells KBHR that they have already responded to 400 cases, and have since opened a second office in Running Springs, to further efforts from their headquarters in Blue Jay. Stuart says their first mission for families and individuals in need was stabilization, including housing, food and clothing. These efforts are followed by financial assistance, and meeting victims' needs spiritually and through counseling, and then education in terms of rebuilding and insurance questions. In order to broaden their reach and resources, today a Long Term Recovery Forum is being held in Lake Arrowhead. Following a fire area overview from San Bernardino County's Assistant Fire Chief Peter Brierty, representatives from the Coordinated Assistance Network, FEMA, California OES, Rim Family Services, United Methodist Committee on Relief, Habitat for Humanity, Mennonite Disaster Services, Christian Reformed World Relief Committee and the American Red Cross will discuss long-term recovery efforts. In addition to long-term recovery planning, Stuart says, “We need to find the people who need help. Everything is confidential.” Those who need assistance can access Rebuilding Mountain Hearts and Lives at heartsandlives.org, or by calling the Blue Jay office at 337-9922, or the Running Springs office at 867-2700. In the meantime, Stuart tells us, “From Rotary and Kiwanis to churches, realtors and individuals, and those who helped with the Bowl-a-thon, Big Bear has been phenomenal in their support.”

January 29, 2008


County's Ad Campaign Will Bolster Mountain Tourism and Economy, Which Suffered Post-Fire Losses
The San Bernardino County Economic Development Agency has allotted $490,000 to promote tourism in the San Bernardino mountains, to stimulate the economy, which suffered as a result of the Slide and Grass Valley Fires in October. Paul Herrera, Communications Coordinator for the County's Economic Development, tells KBHR that this money is allocated from contingency funds for special projects. He says, “We look at this as an investment. The mountain economy is critical to the county.” Communities that will be spotlighted in the advertising campaign are Big Bear, Lake Arrowhead, Crestline, Running Springs and Wrightwood. The nearly half-million dollar stimulus plan is already underway. Ads to promote the San Bernardino mountains began on Clear Channel radio stations on January 14, and will run on 15 Southern California stations. Television ads, which will run on Time Warner cable television, began on January 22 and will target potential visitors in Orange County, Los Angeles and the Inland Empire. Commercials on both radio and television will run through the beginning of April and, notes Herrera, “This will not only bolster the winter season, but will also transition into spring and summer activities.”

January 11, 2008


Local SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Center to Close Next Week; Economic Injury Loans Still Available

The U.S. Small Business Administration offices established in Rimforest will close, at the end of the business day on Friday, January 18. The SBA's Rimforest Disaster Loan Outreach Center has been in place at the Rim of the World Recreation and Park District office at 26571 Highway 18 since December 14, to provide assistance to those recovering from the Slide and Grass Valley Fires that began on October 22. SBA is the federal agency that administers low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans to those small businesses who need working capital in the wake of disasters which, in our case, would be the fires and resulting flood issues and road closures. If you registered with FEMA by the January 9 deadline, you have until July 24 to apply with SBA for a small business loan. So far, SBA has approved over $65 million in low-interest disaster loans to Southern California residents and businesses affected by the fires. The Rimforest office will be open Saturday, from 9am to 1pm, and next Monday through Friday, from 8:30am to 5pm, for those who would like personalized disaster assistance. After the 18th, SBA can be accessed online at sba.gov/services/disasterassistance or by calling 800-659-2955.

December 20, 2007


Our Friends to the West Are Still Healing, from Fires Old and Recent; Support Group Available

Rim Family Services, based in Skyforest, has been contracted by San Bernardino County, and funded by FEMA, to provide outreach counseling and family services and is currently offering a support group for fire victims within their service area, from Crestline to Snow Valley, while Lutheran Social Services is the cooperative agency here in the Big Bear area. Kristine Scullin, Executive Director for Rim Family Services, tells KBHR, “We're all experiencing anxiety. You're not going crazy.” Scullin, who had to leave her home in Running Springs due to fire damage, says that at www.rimfamilyservices.org, there is disaster recovery information available to those still dealing with the Slide and Grass Valley Fires. “It is tough,” she says, “it's too close to the Old Fire. Four years later, people are still processing that one.” And, she adds, “Because the Slide Fire burned through the Running Springs area, you can't go anywhere without seeing the devastation. There's more survivors' guilt this time. People are broken hearted about their neighbors losing their homes, it's just so sad. But we are extremely grateful for the moisture we're receiving. There's a calming that comes with the rain and snow--but the next wind that blows through, or with the next helicopter or siren, people will get anxious.” In addition to being grateful for recent precipitation, Scullin did want to tell our KBHR listeners, “We love and appreciate our friends in Big Bear. That's how we heal—knowing our neighbors care about us.”

December 18, 2007

The Li'l Mountain Lions of Baldwin Lane Elementary Do Their Part to Help Fire Victims

Big Bear continues to help our neighbors to the west, not just through the Mountain Aid Project Bowl-a-Thon, but also through the efforts of our Lions Club, other service organizations and now, also contributing to the effort to help those affected by the Slide and Grass Valley Fires, the students of Baldwin Lane Elementary School. The school's secretary, Sue Nunes, tells KBHR that the kindergarten through sixth grade students at Baldwin Lane in Sugarloaf have pulled together to collect $139.50. As Nunes tells us, “I had kids bringing in little baggies of change from their piggy banks.”

County Supervisors Continue Local Emergency Related to Fire, Which Has Already Cost Over $219 Million
The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors will meet in regular session at 10am this morning, in the County Government Center at 385 North Arrowhead Avenue in San Bernardino. The Consent Calendar includes two items related to the continuation of the Local Emergency Related to Fire and Wind, as originally proclaimed on October 22, when five fires were burning in San Bernardino County, those being the Walker, Spring, Cajon, Slide and Grass Valley Fires. The County estimates total cost for these fires--including fire suppression, protective measures, property damage, and debris removal--is an estimated $219,600,000 as of December 10.

December 17, 2007


U.S. Forest Service Resumes Hazardous Fuels Pile Burns, Reveals Cause of Butler #2 Fire

In news from the U.S. Forest Service, hazardous fuels pile burns continue under the Healthy Forest Initiative. Smoke may be visible while these prescribed fires burn in areas off Highway 38 today and, we're told, this smoke can be seen from Snow Valley and Arctic Circle this afternoon. John Miller with the U.S. Forest Service tells us today, “Projects such as this kept the Grass Valley Fire from spreading to Crestline and Twin Peaks, so we know that it has been effective.” And, as Forest Service Fire Chief Mike Dietrich noted last week, “It is important to get this work accomplished while we have favorable weather.” In other news from the Forest Service, if you didn't catch Friday's news, it has been confirmed for us that the Butler #2 Fire, which began September 14 and burned 14,039 acres, was indeed the result of the Butler Fire, which was sparked by lightning on Labor Day weekend. Miller tells KBHR, “The law enforcement investigation determined that the source of ignition of the Butler #2 Fire was the original fire. Unexpected high winds on September 13 and 14 fanned an undetected hot spot into flames and pushed the fire across the fire line.” For more detailed information on the Butler #2 Fire, and additional details regarding the investigation, you can log on to our Butler #2 Fire Archive page.

December 14, 2007


Given Weather, Some Fire Restrictions Lifted Within San Bernardino National Forest

Weather conditions in recent weeks have prompted officials with the San Bernardino National Forest to lessen fire restrictions. This change once again allows for open campfires and charcoal fires in developed sites and at yellow post sites. Camping stoves and lanterns are also allowed with a valid California campfire permit. Recreational target shooting is also allowed once again, though only at designated sites--specifics can be accessed on the website of the San Bernardino National Forest at www.fs.fed.us/r5/sanbernardino. Deputy Forest Supervisor Max Copenhagen says, “Fire restrictions have been effective in reducing the number of human-caused fires over the last few months. I want to thank the public for complying with the restrictions and being careful during our peak fire season.”

December 11, 2007


County Supervisors Meet Today;
Contracts for Fire Debris Removal on Consent Calendar
The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors will meet in regular session at 10am this morning, in the County Government Center at 385 North Arrowhead Avenue in San Bernardino. This morning's meeting will address debris removal services for areas of the Slide and Grass Valley Fires. As the fires created an emergency situation, the County will not wait on competitive solicitation of bids for contracts for the needed equipment, services and supplies for debris removal. The consent calendar includes an item that would approved contracts with Sukut Construction, for structural and vehicle debris removal services, and Vector Engineering, to provide construction management and contract compliance services to monitor the structural debris removal process and erosion control measures. Today's meeting of the County Board of Supervisors also includes the re-appointment of Tanya Perry of Big Bear to the County's Mental Health Commission, in a term that will run through January 2011. County Supervisors meetings are available for online viewing via this link: www.sbcounty.gov/sbco/cob.

December 7, 2007

Crews on Scene in Burn Areas to Ready for Flooding, and Respond If Needed

The Burned Area Emergency Response Team of the San Bernardino National Forest and the County of San Bernardino's Public Works Department and Flood Control District have been readying for the storm. In recent days, crews have been installing sandbag diversions, cleaning storm drains of debris, and installing temporary concrete barriers to protect roads and homes within the 40 square miles of burn area resulting from the Slide, Grass Valley and Butler #2 Fires. John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service tells KBHR that given the aforementioned teams and crews from CalTrans, “There are roughly 100 personnel assigned to this weather event in the San Bernardino mountains, so in case there is severe flooding, this work force will be there to respond to the incident. Crews will be on patrol during the storms, while also checking and cleaning drains, and will also be able to respond immediately.” San Bernardino National Forest Fire Chief Mike Dietrich assures, “Protecting lives and property during this storm event is our top priority.”

December 5, 2007



Firefighters from the Big Bear Lake Fire Department, Big Bear City Fire Department and County Fire's
Fawnskin Station bowled to raise funds for those who lost their homes in the Slide and Grass Valley Fires,
during Sunday's Mountain Aid Project Bowl-a-Thon. Thank you, firefighters, for going above and beyond!


December 4, 2007


Fire Victims to Benefit from Bowl-a-Thon's $24,000 in Pledges, Slide Fire Benefit Jam on Saturday

The pledges and contributions continue to come in for the Mountain Aid Project Bowl-a-Thon, which included 24 teams, five bands, and a slew of raffle prizes donated by local businesses. As of this morning, $24,000 has been collected, to benefit those who lost their homes in the Slide and Grass Valley Fires. Two of those fire victims, a mother and daughter who lost their home in Running Springs, have since moved to Big Bear and even participated in the Bowl-a-Thon with the two teams from the Running Springs Chamber of Commerce. If you missed out on the two rounds of the Bowl-a-Thon on Sunday yet would still like to contribute to the effort, the Mountain Aid Project fund is set up at First Mountain Bank, and all donations will go directly to those in need, via the Blue Jay-based non-profit Rebuilding Mountain Hearts and Lives. This group will also distribute funds raised at this weekend's Slide Fire Benefit Jam, to be held from 10am to 8pm at Snow Valley Ski Resort on Saturday, December 8. At least 10 groups and entertainers will be performing, and admission is free to the event, which will also include a firefighter auction and an adopt-a-family-for-the-holidays registry. For more information on the Slide Fire Benefit Jam, please call 867-6333.

Despite Precipitation, Root Fires Continue to Burn in Areas of Slide and Grass Valley Fires

Though we did receive measurable precipitation in the form of rain on Friday and snow on Saturday, this was not enough to completely extinguish the root fires that continue to smolder in the burn areas of the Slide and Grass Valley Fires. According to John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service, “We received an average of two inches of precipitation across the San Bernardino mountains, which gave us a soil penetration of four to six inches. To put that in perspective, we're having to dig down six feet on some root fires, because they're still burning.” Miller notes that on the roughly 40 square miles of burn area, including Butler #2, it will still take a substantial snowfall, or a series of rainstorms, so that the precipitation will penetrate deep into the soil. As for the cause of the fires—the Butler #2 which began on September 14 and the Slide and Grass Valley Fires, which began on October 22—Miller says the U.S. Forest Service has not yet released that information. But, he tells KBHR, “Investigators have a general sense of the point of origin for each of these three fires, but to release that information could possibly compromise the investigation.”

November 30, 2007


This photo from Green Valley Lake this week illustrates why we are doing the Bowl-a-Thon
on Sunday, to benefit those who lost their homes in October's Slide and Grass Valley Fires.
Thank you, Big Bear, for your generous pledges of support.


Highway 18, From The Big Bear Dam to Snow Valley, Closed Due to Rain and Slides -- Updated
Today's rain, currently registering an inch of precipitation here in Big Bear City (as of 3pm), has resulted in the closure of Highway 18 and Flash Flood Warnings for burn areas of the Slide and Grass Valley Fires. CalTrans official Terri Kasinga tells us that, this morning, there was a notable slide in the Arctic Circle portion of Highway 18, so it is now closed from the Big Bear Dam to Snow Valley. The KBHR team was on the scene this morning and though there was not a major rockslide, there are rocks and debris, resulting from past fires, in the roadway. Jeff Newsome of the California Highway Patrol did call KBHR since that time to tell us he saw a rock “the size of a La-Z-Boy” on Arctic Circle. All other roadways into the Big Bear Valley are open at this time, though we do have reports of rock slides on Highways 38 and 330. On Highway 38, there are just small rock slides and, on Highway 330, there are a few slides resulting from the burn areas and CalTrans crews are currently at work to clean those up in an effort to keep the roadway open. Kasinga offers this advice to Valley residents considering a trip off the mountain, “Stay home and off the roads. Try to avoid being on the roadway right now for safety precautions. The smartest thing you can do is stay home.” Just to recap, Highway 18 through Lucerne Valley is open, Highways 38 and 330 are open, though drivers are advised to be mindful of rock slides, and Highway 18, from the Big Bear Dam to Snow Valley, is closed and will remain closed until at least noon on Saturday.

November 26, 2007

CalTrans Spends Over $7 Million on Road Restoration, Resulting from Inland Empire Fires
CalTrans continues work to restore state highways, which were affected by the recent wildfires in the Inland Empire. Over $7 million in emergency projects has been established to restore areas of Highways 330, 18 and 71, and Interstates 15 and 215. Some of the work includes repairs to burnt guardrails, debris removal, slope stabilization, erosion control with hydro-seed, and drain cleaning. CalTrans tells us that their goal is to finish the emergency repairs in January 2008. CalTrans maintenance crews will be patrolling state highways during inclement weather to monitor roads and slopes in the event of flooding or slides. As winter weather approaches, please be mindful of the CalTrans crews working along roadways and, as always, slow for the cone zone.

November 20, 2007

Lions Club Accepting Donations of Housewares for Families Affected by Slide and Grass Valley Fires
The Lions Club of Big Bear has been on the scene, assisting those affected by the Slide and Grass Valley Fires. Since the first week of evacuations, the Lions have been at the National Orange Show Fairgrounds, and the overflow evacuation site at 40th and Waterman in San Bernardino, handing out toothbrushes and diapers—and even served over 1,000 meals, with the help of Big Bear's Taste of Bear Catering. The Lions Club International has already donated $15,000 in cash to those who've lost their homes and now our local Lions are working with the Arrowbear Lions Club to collect and distribute items that affected families have requested. Mel Niez of the Lions tells KBHR, “Our Arrowbear Lions Club had a meeting with FEMA and the victims themselves.” From that meeting, the following needs have been requested: small appliances such as clothes irons and toaster ovens, pots and pans, blankets and bedding, pillows, dishes, silverware, cooking utensils, towels, clocks and flashlights. Donations are being accepted at the home of Mel and her husband Don Niez, the Lions' District Governor for 47 clubs in San Bernardino County and beyond—donations can be left at 442 East Country Club, just east of Paradise, in Big Bear City, or you can call the Lions at 585-7121 to arrange for pickup of items.

November 19, 2007

Forest Care Program Credited for Saving a Home in the Grass Valley Fire
Thanks to the Forest Care thinning program offered through CalFire and the San Bernardino National Forest Association, at least one home was spared in the Grass Valley Fire. According to Lake Arrowhead homeowner Bill Kingston, “Forest Care got rid of all those low limbs and cleared over 100 trees off my property that would have provided tremendous fuels for the fire had they still been standing. There's no doubt in my mind that I would have lost the home if it wasn't for the forest thinning program. My neighbor down the street, the first home down from me, is level to the ground, the home is gone. It's really disheartening to see my neighbors without homes.” It cost Kingston roughly $700 to remove 225 small trees from his half-acre lot; the remainder of the $2600 bill was paid through Forest Care, which reimburses landowners up to 75% of the cost of thinning their properties to reduce hazardous fuels. “These forests are severely overcrowded,” Forest Care Director Shawna Meyer says. “Finally residents are beginning to understand that we must take action to reduce the buildup of fuels on our lands. It's just not enough anymore to cheer the Forest Service and other land management agencies for their fuels reduction efforts; private citizens are starting to realize that they themselves are responsible if they allow fuels to build up on their properties.” If you would like to arrange for a Forest Care staff member to talk to your group or club, or to schedule an appointment, call 888/883-THIN or visit them online at www.sbnfa.org.

State Schools Chief to Meet With Parents and Students at Rim of the World High School Today
Today, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell will be visiting the mountain. At 10:45am, the state schools chief will be at Rim of the World High School, as their school district was one of the hardest hit by October's wildfires. Though no school facilities were lost due to the Slide and Grass Valley Fires, Rim of the World schools were closed on October 22, the day the fires began, and only re-opened to students as of this Tuesday. During O'Connell's visit to Rim of the World High, he will meet with parents, students and school officials. That meeting, again, takes place at 10:45am today, at 27400 Highway 18 in Lake Arrowhead.

November 15, 2007

Local Civic, Media and Firefighting Agencies to Participate in Benefit Bowl-a-Thon on December 2
Due to the tremendous loss of homes in communities of Lake Arrowhead, Running Springs and Green Valley Lake, the Bowling Barn is hosting a Bowl-a-Thon on Sunday, December 2, with all proceeds to benefit our mountain neighbors who suffered losses in the Slide and Grass Valley Fires. The 2pm Bowl-a-Thon will feature teams from the Lake Arrowhead, Crestline, Running Springs and Big Bear Chambers of Commerce; the Big Bear City Community Services District; the City of Big Bear Lake; Fire Departments from Big Bear City, Fawnskin and Big Bear Lake; the Big Bear Sheriff's Station and Citizens on Patrol; the Big Bear Resort Association; and KBHR Radio, The Grizzly and Channel 6. The event will include a performance by the Mountain Fifes and Drums Corps from Lake Arrowhead, and the entire community is invited to come cheer on the teams. Due to demand, the Bowling Barn will also host a second-round Bowl-a-Thon at 5pm on the 2nd, and you can sign up your team by calling Dennis or Billy at 878-BOWL (2695). Those who wish to contribute can sponsor a team, or are welcome to make a donation either at the Bowling Barn or through First Mountain Bank's Mountain Aid Project account.

Millions Already Distributed in SBA Loans; Application Deadline Open Until December 24
The U.S. Small Business Administration has already approved over $21 million in low-interest disaster loans to those in Southern California affected by October's wildfires. Bruce Thompson, Regional Administrator for SBA, reminds, “Low-interest federal disaster loans from SBA are available to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private, non-profit organizations whose property was damaged or destroyed by the wildfires.” Small businesses can also take advantage of Economic Injury Disaster Loans. No appointment is necessary if you want to talk to an SBA representative in person, now available at the Robert Hootman Community Center at 2929 Running Springs School Road in Running Springs or, still, at the Disaster Recovery Center at the National Orange Show Fairgrounds in San Bernardino. Both centers are open Monday through Friday, from 9am to 7pm, and on Saturdays, from 9am to 4pm. Before registering with SBA, though, please call FEMA first at 800-621-3362. More information is available from SBA, online at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance or by calling 800-659-2955. Please note that the deadline to apply for SBA loans is December 24, and July 24 for Economic Injury Loans.

Free Mountain Thanksgiving Offered at Azteca Grill; Donations to Benefit Fire Victims

The Azteca Grill and Restaurant, along with Elevations Day Spa and Vons, will be offering a complimentary "Mountain Thanksgiving" dinner with all the trimmings on Thanksgiving Day. Azteca Grill's owners Rosa and Arturo Arellano invite all those who would otherwise spend Thanksgiving alone to join them for a free dinner, from 3 to 6pm—or until all the food is gobbled up. The Arellanos are asking for, but not requiring, donations to the Rebuilding Mountain Hearts and Lives program, which benefits our neighbors affected by the Slide and Grass Valley Fires. All are invited to spend their Thanksgiving at Azteca Grill, located at 40199 Big Bear Boulevard just west of Red Ant Hill. To reserve your place for the Mountain Thanksgiving or to help, please call Azteca Grill at 866-2350.

November 14, 2007


Two Months Later, Cause of Butler #2 Fire Remains Under Investigation

Today is the two-month anniversary of the Butler #2 Fire, which began on September 14 and burned 14,039 acres in areas west and north of the community of Fawnskin. At the time, the Butler #2 Fire was labeled the number one priority wildfire incident in the nation, and, to date, cost for fire suppression efforts remains at an estimated $13 to 15 million, which will be paid for by the National Fire Fund. The cause of the Butler #2 Fire has not yet been released and, in a conversation with John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service today, he says, “All three fires are currently under investigation by the U.S. Forest Service.” The other fires being referenced are the Slide and Grass Valley Fires, both of which started on October 22. Crews continue mop up and rehabilitation efforts on the burn areas of these fires, as well as on Butler #2.

Roadway Repair Continues on Highway 330 This Week
CalTrans crews are continuing with their rehabilitation work on Highway 330 and, per CalTrans official Terri Kasinga today, repair work along the roadway will continue for another week or so. Monday through Saturday, from 7am to 5pm, crews are repairing guard rails, resetting road signs, repairing drainage and removing fallen trees, resulting from the Slide and Grass Valley Fires. Highway 330 remains open and traffic control will be implemented when needed, but, again, just a reminder to use a reduced speed and be mindful of foot crews along the roadway.

November 9, 2007


Governor Schwarzenegger, joined by Lewis Murray of the Lake Arrowhead Communities Chamber
of Commerce and Sara Russ of the Big Bear Chamber of Commerce, made a surprise stop in the
mountains Wednesday, to announce that the mountain communities are open for business. Big Bear,
Lake Arrowhead and Running Springs are open, as is the San Bernardino National Forest!


Firefighters Continue Hot Spot Suppression; Forest Re-Opened for Weekend and Sunday's Free Day

Aggressive hot spot suppression continues on both the Slide and Grass Valley Fires today. Marc Peebles of the Southern California Interagency Incident Management Team 3 tells KBHR that infrared flyovers of the burn areas continue—helicopters with infrared sensors, to detect hot spots, flew over the 1,247 acre burn zone of the Grass Valley Fire on Thursday, and infrared flights over the Slide Fire's 12,759 acres will be going on today. Over 580 firefighters remain assigned to the two fires, both of which began October 22 and have since been 100% contained. Still, no answer yet on how these two fires, which started within three hours of each other, began. Per Peebles today, “The cause of both fires remains under investigation by the U.S. Forest Service.”
The San Bernardino National Forest has been re-opened, as of Thursday, though the burn areas do remain closed to visitors. This Sunday, the U.S. Forest Service offers another Free Day in the Forest, meaning an Adventure Pass is not needed to enjoy the forest on November 11. For more information on Free Day in the Forest, restrictions, wood permits or closures, please contact the Discovery Center at 382-2790, or you can log on to the website of the San Bernardino National Forest at www.fs.fed.us/r5/sanbernardino.

November 8, 2007


Burn Areas of Slide and Grass Valley Fires Under Patrol Day and Night as Smoldering Continues

Today's report from Incident Command, which is the Southern California Interagency Incident Management Team 3, is that over 450 firefighters remain at work on the burn areas of the Slide and Grass Valley Fires. Team 3's Marc Peebles, who also happens to be a Battalion Chief with the San Bernardino County Fire Department, tells KBHR, “Everything is still in heavy mop up stages, both on the Grass Valley and Slide Fires. Crews continue to patrol both the fires areas, day and night. Some of our staff are focusing on refurbishing scars of dozer lines and hand lines.” Though both fires are 100% contained, which means there is a strong fire line completely around it, neither the Slide or Grass Valley Fire is yet fully controlled, which is why smoldering may be visible. Officials say that firefighters continue to mop up more than a football field's length away from homes and businesses, and the fires will not be completely out until we get significant precipitation. Peebles adds, “There are still a few hot spots, deep within the interior of both fires, and crews are working those fuels.”

Running Springs Celebrates Halloween With Trick or Treating This Saturday
The Running Springs Area Chamber of Commerce and Running Springs merchants will host a special afternoon for children in their area this Saturday. From 2 to 5pm on November 10, there will be trick or treating in downtown Running Springs for those who were evacuated during the Halloween holiday. All children in the mountain communities are invited to Saturday afternoon's Halloween in Running Springs.

San Bernardino National Forest Re-Opens to Public Today

The U.S. Forest Service has lifted the temporary emergency closure of the San Bernardino National Forest, effective today. The forest is now open to visitors, though areas directly affected by the Slide and Grass Valley Fires--including Green Valley Campground, Fisherman's Group Campground and Tent Peg Group Campground--do remain closed, as do areas that were closed prior to October 23's temporary emergency closure. Forest visitors are reminded that the fire danger level remains critical due to drought conditions, so wood and charcoal fires are not allowed anywhere in the forest. As always, no fireworks, no recreational target shooting expect for in developed sites, and smoking is allowed only in enclosed buildings or vehicles. For specific road closures and restrictions, please call the Discovery Center at 382-2790, or you can log on to the website of the San Bernardino National Forest at www.fs.fed.us/r5/sanbernardino.

November 7, 2007

Over 600 Firefighters Continue Work on Slide and Grass Valley Fires; Forest Remains Closed
In news from Incident Command on the Slide and Grass Valley Fires, which is now being overseen by Southern California Incident Management Team 3, over 600 firefighting personnel remain assigned to the two fires. Within both burn zones, crews continue to monitor fire conditions and respond to 911 calls while continuing mop up operations. Firefighters keep looking for and extinguishing smoke and smoldering debris in residential areas. Nine hand crews are making repairs to any damage to the land created by fire suppression activities during the fire response. Other crews on scene include three helicopters, 13 water tenders, and 38 engines. The cause of both fires remains under investigation. Meanwhile, utility companies are still at work to restore services to the areas affected by the Slide and Grass Valley Fires. Incident Command also notes that the San Bernardino National Forest does remain closed to the public until severe fire conditions ease.

Local Agencies Partner to Specifically Help Those Affected by the Slide and Grass Valley Fires
During the fall fires of 2003, the Big Bear-based Lutheran Social Services partnered with a small grassroots agency in the Blue Jay area, called Rebuilding Mountain Hearts and Lives, or RMHL. RMHL has, in the past four years, dealt hands-on with the rebuilding of homes, and now the two agencies are partnering again to help those affected by the Slide and Grass Valley Fires. In a statement, they noted that when the immediate disaster becomes old news and the fundraisers have come and gone, those in the mountains will still be faced with rebuilding homes as winter approaches. To that end, Lutheran Social Services and Rebuilding Mountain Hearts and Lives are spearheading a donation drive to specifically benefit those who suffered losses in the Slide and Grass Valley Fires. When specific goods are requested, the two agencies say they'll put out the call—but, for now, they are asking for monetary help for our mountain neighbors. If you would like to contribute a tax deductible donation, it can be sent to Lutheran Social Services at P.O. Box 1927, Big Bear Lake, 92315, and it is asked that you please indicate “for survivors of Slide and Grass Valley Fires.” For more information, please call Lutheran Social Services at 866-5070, or RMHL at 337-9922.

November 6, 2007

Students of Rim of the World Unified School District Return to School Next Tuesday
Though none of the schools within the Rim of the World Unified School District suffered burn damage as a result of the Slide and Grass Valley Fires, school facilities remain closed as professional cleaning crews are at work, dealing with ash, soot and odor contamination. Per Rim's interim superintendent, Ron Peavy, school offices are currently closed, and Rim's School Board has determined that school will resume for students next Tuesday, November 13, which will also allow for the Veterans Day holiday to be observed on Monday the 12th. All certificated and classified staff of the Rim of the World School District will convene on Wednesday, November 7 for a 9am meeting at the Rim High School gym.

November 5, 2007


Over 1,000 Firefighters Still at Work Within Burn Zones of Slide and Grass Valley Fires

Over 1,000 firefighters remain assigned to the Slide and Grass Valley Fires, which began two weeks ago today, on Monday morning, October 22. On the Grass Valley Fire, areas disturbed by dozer activity are being stabilized and repaired. Crews continue to monitor the current fire perimeter for potential fire activity and mop up hot spots with the burn zone of 1,247 acres. On the Slide Fire, crews are monitoring fire conditions and responding to 911 calls while continuing mop up operations. Firefighters will be moving through residential areas looking for and extinguishing smoke and smoldering debris within the burn zone's 12,759 acres. Utility companies continue to work to restore service to the fire area, and Southern California Edison will complete marking of snags that threaten power lines and continue with tree felling operations. As of 4pm today, a Southern California Incident Management Team 3 will assume command of both fires, which are 100% contained, though not yet controlled. All roads remain open, though CalTrans crews will be doing roadway repair on Highway 330, Monday through Saturday from 7am to 5pm, and drivers are reminded to “slow for the cone zone.”

Repair Work Underway on Highway 330, Though All Roads to Big Bear Open
The Slide and Grass Valley Fires are both 100% contained, all evacuations have been lifted, and the roads, including Highway 18 down the front way, are open. However, CalTrans has started repair work on Highway 330 resulting from the fires, and crews will be working along the roadway, Monday through Saturday, from 7am to 5pm. Traffic control will be implemented when needed but, in the meantime, 330 will remain open while crews are repairing guard rails, resetting road signs, repairing drainage and removing fallen trees. Drivers are advised to use a reduced speed and be mindful of foot crews along Highway 330.

November 3, 2007

Repair Work Resulting from Fires Begins On State Route 330
CalTrans has begun repairing damage from the recent fires on State Route 330. SR-330 will be closed in both directions, from Highland Avenue in San Bernardino to Running Springs, on Sunday, November 4 from 9am to 1pm for emergency infrastructure repairs. Highway 330 is scheduled to reopen on Sunday at 1pm. Repair work will continue Monday through Saturday, from 7am to 5pm, until repairs are completed. Crews are repairing guardrails, resetting road signs, repairing drainage and removing fallen trees. Beginning Monday, November 5, traffic control will be implemented when needed, however, be prepared for ground crews around and on the road. Please drive carefully and watch out for foot crews working in the area.

November 2, 2007


Highway 18 re-opens! Cars were lined up at the Big Bear Dam on Friday at noon, in anticipation
of the re-opening of Highway 18, which had been closed for nearly two weeks due to the Slide
and Grass Valley Fires.


U. S. Forest Service Readies for Fire Potential Given This Weekend's Santa Ana Winds
In light of this weekend's potential for fire, given Santa Ana winds, the U.S. Forest Service has all fire suppression forces ready to respond to new fire starts. Ed Hollenshead, the Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Regional Director for Fire and Aviation, says, “By holding firefighters and aircraft in Southern California through the weekend, I am confident we will be able to immediately respond to any new fire starts and we can ensure fires remain contained during the expected winds this weekend.” All fire stations within the San Bernardino National Forest will be fully staffed 24 hours a day and, the U.S. Forest Service tells KBHR, approximately 1,000 firefighters will remain on scene in the burn areas of the Slide and Grass Valley Fires. San Bernardino National Forest Fire Chief Mike Dietrich adds, “Immediate initial attack is our priority. Quickly suppressing new fire starts can keep our efforts focused on the Grass Valley and Slide Fires and prevent any new large fires.” The Forest Service also plans additional patrol efforts and will be on high alert for arsonists and other suspicious activities. Per our San Bernardino National Forest Supervisor Jeanne Wade Evans, “It's a time for everyone to be vigilant.”

Highway 18 Re-Opens at Noon Today; Drivers Urged to Reduce Speed for Firefighter Safety
Highway 18, including the portion from the Big Bear Dam to Running Springs, will be re-opened to all traffic as of noon today, per Incident Command, the County of San Bernardino and the California Highway Patrol. Though the road is open, John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service tells KBHR, “Motorists can expect the possibility of short delays in the Snow Valley area, due to firefighting efforts along the roadway.” At this time, the passing lane at Snow Valley is closed, as there was fire backing all the way down to the roadway resulting from the Slide Fire. Miller adds, “There may be flagging west of Snow Valley, so drivers are asked to reduce their speed for firefighter safety.” Highway 330 was re-opened yesterday morning, so all roadways into the Big Bear Valley will be accessible as of noon today.

Last of Mandatory Evacuation Orders Being Lifted; Green Valley Lake Residents Allowed to Return
Residents of Green Valley Lake who have not yet had the opportunity to return home, will be able to do so today. Now that the Slide Fire is 100% contained and utility restoration is underway, those who have properties listed as damaged or destroyed on the county assessor's website at www.sbassessor.org will be allowed entry this morning, following a briefing to be held at the Arrowbear Fire Department, located at 2365 Fir Drive at Highway 18. After attending the briefing, these residents of Green Valley Lake will be allowed first access through noon today. Please note that proof of residency will be required, and the county recommends that those on the organized site visit wear sturdy shoes, eye protection, canvas gloves and long sleeves and long pants. The County Department of Public Health will provide plastic bags for salvaged belongings, rubber gloves and facemasks. All other residents and business owners in Green Valley Lake will be allowed to return to the area as of noon, as the mandatory evacuation order will be lifted at that time. We want to remind that though utility companies have been working 'round the clock to restore service, residents should be prepared to be without power for up to two weeks. Information on assistance resources is available to recent evacuees by calling 211.

Recovery Resources Still Available, Six Days a Week, at National Orange Show in San Bernardino
The Federal Emergency Local Assistance Center, which has been at the Dome at the National Orange Show Fairgrounds in San Bernardino since just after the Grass Valley and Slide Fires broke out on Monday morning, October 22 will, as of noon today, be converted into a Disaster Recovery Center, housing both Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, and the Office of Emergency Services. The County wants those in need to know that services will continue to be available at the National Orange Show, Monday through Friday, from 7am to 7pm, and on Saturdays from 9am to 4pm. FEMA will also establish an office in the mountains, once the county secures a location. In the meantime, the county's website at www.sbcounty.gov will provide web links for all agencies offering services to those affected by the fires.

November 1, 2007

Burned Structure Tally Includes 518 Homes; Firefighters Go Above and Beyond

The San Bernardino County Assessor's Office reports that 520 structures were damaged or destroyed as a result of the Slide and Grass Valley Fires and yet only two of those were businesses: a hardware store and a real estate office in the downtown area of Green Valley Lake, as we reported last Thursday. That said, the other 518 structures destroyed or damaged were homes, and this information has been confirmed for us by Incident Command this week. Fire officials also confirm that no school facilities within the Rim of the World School District were burned during the two fires. Given this, there are well over 500 individuals and families who will have to rebuild their homes and replace their belongings—though not every item is replaceable. John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service tells us that an elderly woman returned to her home in Running Springs during yesterday's organized site visit, and was alone, digging through the burned debris in search of her family heirloom jewelry. The U.S. Forest Service crew of Engine 16 from Fawnskin was in the area, and took to helping this woman and, all told, picked through the burned debris with her until they found the jewelry. For this, and countless other heroic, kind and brave gestures, we want to say thank you to all the firefighters.

Economic Injury Loans Available to Small Businesses From Federal Government at 4% Interest

Those who have suffered losses resulting from the Slide and Grass Valley Fires are potentially eligible for grants from FEMA or loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration. Two federal representatives from SBA, Greg Dawson and Charmagne Husmann, were in Big Bear this morning, to address members of the business community who may have suffered economic injury due to recent road, forest and lake closures, prompted by the Slide and Grass Valley Fires. Husmann tells KBHR, “We want to make sure people can get all the federal help that's available.” Those whose properties have been physically damaged have until December 24, 2007 to apply for assistance, and small business owners suffering economic injury or in need of working capital may apply for SBA loans through July 24, 2008, though Husmann recommends applying sooner than later. “We have the loans,” she says, “which are designed for long-term or permanent recovery. We do an individual analysis to determine people's ability to repay these low interest government loans, up to 30 years.” These federal-direct loans available for businesses, non-profits and companies with economic injury are available at 4% interest. Those interested in applying, can visit the SBA center at the National Orange Show Fairgrounds in San Bernardino through Saturday, or can contact SBA at 800-659-2955, or online at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance. Before contacting SBA though, all are asked to first contact FEMA at 800-621-3362.

Hwy 18 Re-Opens Friday, Financial Assistance Available, Town Meeting in Arrowhead -- Update as of Noon
Here is the news you've all been waiting for—not only are both the Slide and Grass Valley Fires now 100% contained but, per Incident Command and the County of San Bernardino, Highway 18 will be completely reopened to all traffic as of noon tomorrow, November 2. Highway 330 was reopened to traffic as of 6am this morning.
Though both fires are fully contained, we do want to make the distinction that they are not fully controlled, as we learned on the Butler #2 Fire. In a conversation with Tom Kempton, stationed at Incident Command at Snow Valley, he says, “Homeowners will probably see smoke from stumps until it gets wet enough to put this out.” Fire officials do note that those in the vicinity of the Slide and Grass Valley Fires should contact fire personnel in their area if they are concerned about smoldering materials near their homes. In the meantime, over 1,600 firefighters remain in the area, to continue putting out hot spots and doing mop-up work within the burn zones.
The last of the mandatory evacuation orders will be lifted tomorrow, as of noon, for residents of Green Valley Lake. Prior to re-entry, there will be an organized site visit for these residents tomorrow morning, from 9am to noon, beginning with a briefing at the Arrowbear Fire Station, located at 2365 Fir Drive, on the corner of Fir and Highway 18. As with other site visits this week, only those whose properties listed on the county assessor's website at www.sbassessor.org will be included in the 9am briefing. All others will be allowed to return to Green Valley Lake, without restrictions, as of noon tomorrow. The county assessor's website also includes new information today, which outlines the estimated monetary damage incurred by home loss within the Slide and Grass Valley Fires--at current count, the total cost of rebuilding damaged or destroyed structures is over $155 million.
For those who have incurred losses resulting from the fires, two representatives from the U.S. Small Business Administration were in Big Bear this morning to outline how low interest loans can be obtained. Charmagne Husmann and Greg Dawson first spoke at this morning's Big Bear Chamber of Commerce Power Breakfast, then stopped by the KBHR studios to outline assistance opportunities. For perspective's sake, of last week's wildfires in Southern California, Husmann notes, “This is really big. This is the biggest disaster since Katrina.” Those who have suffered physical damage to their property should first register with FEMA by calling 800-621-3362. The next step, which also applies to small business owners who have suffered economic injury (even here in Big Bear, due to road, forest and lake closures), should then file an application with SBA at 800-659-2955 or online at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance. We will bring you more information on these low interest loans in a future broadcast and will post on our website but, for now, know that help is available. Notes Husmann, “This is federal taxpayer dollars at work.”
Those within the Slide and Grass Valley Fire areas are invited to this evening's Town Hall Meeting, hosted by the Lake Arrowhead Communities Chamber of Commerce, at 6pm. The purpose of the town meeting is to educate the community with regard to available resources and, specifically, what these resources can provide. All individuals and families who have suffered a loss, whether structural, financial or business related, are encouraged to attend the 6pm meeting, to be held at the Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa Grand Ballroom, located at 27984 Highway 189 in Lake Arrowhead. In the meantime, the LAC Chamber wants everyone to know that Lake Arrowhead Village remains undamaged by the fires.

San Bernardino National Forest to Remain Closed Until We Get Rain or Snow

The San Bernardino National Forest does remain closed, not just as a result of the Slide and Grass Valley Fires, but also in anticipation of more Santa Ana winds this weekend. John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service tells KBHR, “Closing the forest is a preventative measure because it's a fact that most fires are human caused, and by that I don't necessarily mean arson.” The U.S. Forest Service has already pre-positioned crews throughout Southern California's forested areas, as an added preventative measure, should Santa Ana winds kick up this weekend. Though the Big Bear area's Serrano Campground, Alpine Pedal Path and Juniper Point are open, Miller notes, “We are not going to reopen the forest until we get a significant amount of rain or snow.”

Good News: Slide Fire Is Now 100% Contained; Highway 330 Re-Opened -- Update as of 9am
We have more good news to report on the fires, both of which started 10 days ago, on Monday morning, October 22. As of last night, the Slide Fire, which burned 12,759 acres in the areas of Green Valley Lake, Running Springs and Arrowbear, is 100% contained. As of 6am this morning, the mandatory evacuation order for residents of Running Springs and Arrowbear has been lifted. Residents of Green Valley Lake will be able to return home at noon on Friday, November 2, as Incident Command has scheduled a lifting of this, the last of the mandatory evacuation orders. However, residents in these communities may be without power for up to another two weeks, per Southern California Edison. Despite this, John Miller with the U.S. Forest Service, tells KBHR, “Southern California Edison is doing an outstanding job, working 'round the clock, to restore service.”
The Grass Valley Fire is also 100% contained, and utility crews are still at work in the area to continue restoration of the utilities to these communities, which includes areas in and around Twin Peaks and Lake Arrowhead. Those who live in neighborhoods within the 1,247 burned acres of the Grass Valley Fire are under a voluntary evacuation.
As of this morning, at 6am, the road closure on Highway 330 has been lifted, per a statement released by the County of San Bernardino. Also, as of this morning, the Highway 18 closure has been moved to the east, from Heaps Peak to Green Valley Lake Road. For those traveling from Big Bear, the closure of Highway 18 does remain in effect from Green Valley Lake Road to the Big Bear Dam.

October 31, 2007

No Scheduled Re-Open Dates for Highways 330 and 18 -- Update as of 5pm
Though evacuees were allowed an organized site visit to Running Springs and Arrowbear today, Highway 330 and Highway 18, from the Big Bear Dam to the Running Springs area, do remain closed. All officials that we spoke with today told us that re-open dates have yet to be scheduled for these highways. John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service noted that, as a result of the Grass Valley and Slide Fires, “Highway 330 did get some damage, and CalTrans is [presently] working on that.” As for Highway 18, there has still been continued smoldering in the 13 Turns area, between Snow Valley Ski Area and Green Valley Lake Road. Tom Kempton with Incident Command on the Slide Fire tells KBHR this afternoon that Highway 18 is closed “for the safety of fire and utility crews.” We will be sure to let you know as soon as the roads are safe and open but, for now, please continue to use Highway 18, through Lucerne Valley, and Highway 38 when leaving the mountain.
Current containment totals on the fires are 100% for the Grass Valley Fire, and 97% for the Slide Fire, though Incident Command, now stationed at Snow Valley Ski Area, has expected that full containment might be achieved by today's end.

County Assessor Reports 451 Structures Lost Due to Slide and Grass Valley Fires, 67 Damaged
The San Bernardino County Assessor's office has continued to update burned structure information on their website at www.sbassessor.org and have now included properties from Running Springs affected by the Slide Fire. The current assessment is as follows: In Lake Arrowhead areas, 178 structures have been destroyed; 22 are listed as damaged; for the Green Valley Lake area, 100 structures are listed as destroyed, 10 damaged; and in neighborhoods of Running Springs and Smiley Park, 173 structures are reported destroyed and 35 damaged. Additional information may continue to come in but, for now, the tally stands at 451 structures lost to the Grass Valley and Slide Fires, and 67 structures damaged.

Big Bear Lake Resort Association Offers Accommodations to Evacuees
Those who are seeking accommodations in the mountains can call the Big Bear Lake Resort Association, as the RA has set up the Grass and Slide Fires Evacuation Assistance Program. Participating lodges in Big Bear have donated over 50 rooms, and some lodges are offering free stays up to November 18. Those who have lost their homes or are still under evacuation orders can reserve up to a seven-night stay by calling 800-4-BIG BEAR, though the Resort Association asks that proof of residency be faxed or emailed at the time of booking. Evacuees who are in Big Bear can also stop by the Big Bear Visitor Center with this information, from 9am to 5pm, at 630 Bartlett Road in the Village of Big Bear Lake.

Owners of Small Businesses Affected by Fires Invited to Chamber Power Breakfast Tomorrow
The Big Bear Chamber of Commerce will also be addressing the fire situation during their first-Thursday-of-the-month Power Breakfast, which takes place at Northwoods Resort in the Village tomorrow morning. Sara Russ, Executive Director of the Big Bear Chamber, tells KBHR that they have arranged for tomorrow's guest speaker to now be a representative from the U.S. Small Business Administration. During the Power Breakfast, information will be presented on different types of loans and other assistance available to small businesses in our area that have been affected by the Slide and Grass Valley Fires either directly through property, structure, inventory or equipment loss, or indirectly from loss of business due to road closures and forest and lake closures. The Chamber Power Breakfast is $12 for Chamber members, $15 for guests. Coffee service and networking begin at 6:45am, and breakfast begins at 7am. For more information, please call the Chamber at 866-4607.

School Districts, Including BVUSD, Will Not Have to Make Up School Days Lost Due to Fires

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell issued a statement detailing fiscal relief for those school districts affected by the wildfires. “Many schools had to close down directly because of the wildfires and indirectly because of damage caused by the related smoke, wind and sand,” O'Connell said. “In non-emergency situations, this can result in a loss of school funding. My staff is working closely with local education agencies to help them fill out the appropriate form so they can get fiscal relief. Then I will authorize Average Daily Attendance credit to these schools so they will not lose funding, nor be required to make up lost instructional days and minutes.” The Bear Valley Unified School District is included in this fiscal relief, and the school district tells KBHR that the three school days lost, two resulting from smoke last week and one in September due to the Butler #2 Fire evacuation, will not have to be made up. Just a note, though, if school is canceled due to snow this season, those days will be made up during BVUSD's calendared snow makeup days, so families are reminded not to plan on having those days off from school.
Those students in the Rim of the World School District, as well as others in California, who have lost their homes, will also be eligible for benefits. O'Connell's press release also states, “Students who have lost their homes can be immediately classified as 'homeless', and get free meals at schools or at congregate feeding centers.” Families in the affected burn areas may also be relieved to hear that O'Connell says, “There is already a law in place if a student becomes homeless as a result of a disaster and has to enroll in another school, families and schools won't have to worry about not having the students' proper school and medical records, immunizations, or proof of residency to temporarily enroll in another school.” Still, there has been no report of loss of school facilities in the Slide and Grass Valley Fires.

Evacuation Order Lifted for Grass Valley; Slide Fire Now 97% Contained -- Update as of 9am
The Grass Valley Fire is at 100% containment and, as of this morning, the mandatory evacuation order has been lifted for those in the areas of Twin Peaks, Lake Arrowhead and Grass Valley. Firefighting crews have continued to patrol the area overnight, to monitor and extinguish hot spots. Incident Command reports that 176 firefighting personnel remain assigned to the Grass Valley Fire, which burned a total of 1,247 acres.
As of last night, the Slide Fire has been upgraded to 97% containment over the 12,759 burned acres, and over 1,400 personnel remain on scene. Fire officials tell us that continuing mild weather conditions have contributed to significant progress, though steep terrain and snags are slowing crews doing mop-up in the large residential areas, which includes the communities of Running Springs, Green Valley Lake and Arrowbear. Utility companies are still at work to restore services for these residents, and those of whom have properties listed on the county assessor's website (www.sbassessor.org) will be allowed to tour their homes during today's organized site visit. Today's site visit for residents of Running Springs and Arrowbear will begin at Rim of the World High School, where evacuees will first attend a briefing before being issued a pass to tour the burned areas. As of tomorrow morning at 6am, the mandatory evacuation order will be lifted for Running Springs and Arrowbear. The site visit and re-entry for those in Green Valley Lake is still in the planning stages, per yesterday's information from San Bernardino County officials.


Brittania Heuther's "Thank You Firefighters" jack-o'-lantern, which ultimately took first place
in our adult category of the KBHR pumpkin carving contest, earning her a $100 gift
certificate to Mandoline Bistro restaurant.


October 30, 2007


Mandatory Evacuation to Be Lifted for Grass Valley Residents Tomorrow -- Fires Recap as of 5pm
As of this morning, Incident Command on the Slide and Grass Valley Fires is being overseen by a California Type I incident management team. Over 2,000 firefighters remain on scene, continuing fire suppression on hot spots within the burn zones, enforcing containment lines in anticipation of high winds this weekend, and doing mop up around structures, to allow for the safe entry of utility crews. As of last night, 100% containment was achieved on the Grass Valley Fire, which, per latest count from Incident Command, had destroyed 174 structures and damaged 25.
Upgraded numbers have already come in today on the Slide Fire, which is now at 95% containment, with an updated burned acreage tally of 12,759 acres. Per the San Bernardino County Assessor's office, 272 structures have been destroyed in the Slide Fire.
Those evacuees whose properties are listed as damaged or destroyed on the assessor's website at www.sbassessor.org can participate in organized site visits, the next of which will be for Running Springs and Arrowbear residents tomorrow, following a briefing at Rim of the World High School. Also tomorrow, Wednesday, the mandatory evacuation order for residents of the Grass Valley community will be lifted as of 6am. Additional information is available to evacuees of the Slide and Grass Valley Fires by calling 211.
Though some evacuees are being allowed re-entry into the Slide and Grass Valley Fire areas, Highway 330 and Highway 18, from the Big Bear Dam to the Skyforest area, remain closed. There is no estimated re-open date at this time, as crews are still working along the roadway. These crews include not only firefighters at work on fire suppression and mop up, but also crews from gas, electric, phone and propane companies.

Slide Fire Now 95% Contained; No Estimated Re-Open Date for Highways 18 & 330 -- Update as of Noon

Progress and updated numbers continue to come in from Incident Command on the Slide and Grass Valley Fires. As of last night, 100% containment was achieved on the Grass Valley Fire, and residents are being allowed to visit the area today, until 5pm.
As of this morning, containment on the Slide Fire has been upgraded to 95%. Over 1,600 firefighting personnel are assigned to the Slide Fire today, under the direction of a Type I incident management team, and these crews include 200 engines, 33 hand crews, seven helicopters, six dozers and 39 water tenders. Fire officials report that crews are working hard to ensure that containment lines will hold during predicted high winds this weekend. Tree felling crews are cutting fire-weakened trees in the burn zone of the Slide Fire, both along the perimeter and around structures, to facilitate the restoration of utilities, and make it safe for utility companies working in the area.
Here are some details on re-entry plans for evacuees: Grass Valley residents are being allowed to visit their property today, Tuesday, until 5pm; Grass Valley will be under a voluntary evacuation as of 6am Wednesday; Running Springs and Arrowbear residents will have a site visit, starting with a briefing at Rim of the World High School, on Wednesday, from 9am to 5pm; as of Thursday at 6am, Running Springs and Arrowbear will be under a voluntary evacuation; a site visit for residents of Green Valley Lake is being planned while public safety officials and utility companies ready the area for re-entry. Information has just come in from the county, that clarifies that only those with damaged properties listed on the assessor's website at www.sbassessor.org will be included in the organized site visits. Additional information on re-entry and the Slide and Grass Valley Fires is available from U.S. Forest Service personnel today, as they are stationed at both Vons and Stater Bros. stores in Big Bear Lake.
Though residents of burn zones are gradually being allowed re-entry, Highway 330 and Highway 18, from the Big Bear Dam to the Skyforest area, remain closed. There is no estimated re-open date at this time, as crews are still working along the roadway. These crews include not only firefighters at work on fire suppression and mop up, but also crews from gas, electric, phone and propane companies.
When we spoke with Chon Bribiescas of the U.S. Forest Service today, who also happens to be a Big Bear resident, he did note that the Slide Fire did reach the Butler #2 Fire. “It bumped right into it, right up to the black,” he says, “which was a good thing, because the fire ran out of fuel.” The Butler #2 Fire is still being patrolled and though the cause of the blaze, which began on September 14 and burned 14,039 acres, is still being investigated, Bribiescas tells us that, eventually, there will be an answer--though personnel are presently focusing their resources on the current situation of the Slide and Grass Valley Fires.

Fire Officials Say Thank You, and Suggest Ways You Can Contribute

The Big Bear Valley has been overwhelmingly generous with donations and offers to help both fire crews and those who have been displaced from their homes in the mountain communities. We know that many of you still want to contribute and, per fire officials, it is still too early to determine the needs of those affected by the fire. So, those who want to make donations are asked to make a monetary donation via the Inland Empire Chapter of the American Red Cross. If you would like your donation to be directed specifically, you can indicate so in the memo portion of a check. Checks can be sent to the American Red Cross, Inland Empire Chapter, 202 W. Rialto Avenue, San Bernardino, CA 92408. For more info, you can call the American Red Cross at 888-1481, or log on to their website at www.arcinlandempire.org. Fire officials also noted that fire crews have very much enjoyed letters from children and others, and those can be dropped off at the Big Bear Chamber of Commerce offices at 630 Bartlett Road in the Village. The Chamber will oversee distribution of letters to firefighters and evacuees.

100% Containment on Grass Valley Fire; Hwy 330 & Portions of Hwy 18 Still Closed -- Update as of 9am
More good news from Incident Command on the Slide and Grass Valley Fires, both of which started a week ago yesterday and remain under investigation in terms of cause. As of last night, 100% containment was reported on the Grass Valley Fire, which has burned 1,247 acres in the vicinity of Twin Peaks and northwest of Lake Arrowhead.
The Slide Fire, which burned 12,789 acres in the areas of Running Springs and Green Valley Lake is now 92% contained, with full containment expected by day's end. As of 6am this morning, fire suppression and mop up efforts on both the Slide and Grass Valley Fires will be under the direction of a California Interagency Command Team I.
Evacuees of the Grass Valley area will be allowed to tour the area today, from 9am to 5pm. Before being issued a pass to enter the area, evacuees specific to Grass Valley are asked to meet at the Mary Putnam Henck Intermediate School at 730 Rhine Road in Lake Arrowhead to attend a briefing. Those who plan to visit their properties are reminded to bring ID and proof of residency, as well as canvas gloves, sturdy footwear, eye protection, and wear long pants and long sleeves. The Department of Public Health will provide rubber gloves, facemasks, and plastic bags for salvaged belongings. The County of San Bernardino has just announced that residents of the Grass Valley community will be under a voluntary evacuation as of 6am Wednesday, October 31.
Residents of the Running Springs area and Arrowbear will be given an opportunity to visit their properties, during a site visit scheduled for Wednesday, from 9am to 5pm. Like Grass Valley residents, attendance at a briefing will be required before a pass is issued. Briefings for residents of Running Springs and Arrowbear will take place, starting at 9am, at Rim of the World High School. These communities will be under a voluntary evacuation order as of 6am on Thursday, November 1.
For all site visits, firefighters and law enforcement personnel will be present, as well as counselors from the county's Department of Behavioral Health, and representatives from the American Red Cross and FEMA. A site visit, and re-entry details, are being planned for those in the community of Green Valley Lake.
In the meantime, Highway 330 does remain closed from Running Springs to Highland, and Highway 18, down the front way, is still closed to all traffic from Kuffel Canyon Road in the Skyforest area to Snow Valley Ski Area.
The County of San Bernardino reminds that evacuees can call the county's disaster assistance hotline at 211 or, if out of the 909 area code, can dial 888/435-7565. Information on burned properties is also available by accessing the County Assessor's website at www.sbassessor.org.

October 29, 2007


As of 9pm Monday
, the Slide Fire is 92% contained with 12,789 acres burned, the Grass Valley Fire is 100% contained at 1,247 acres burned.

Over 2,400 Firefighters on Slide and Grass Valley Fires; Updated Numbers Expected -- Update as of 5pm
Over 2,400 firefighters remain at work on fire suppression and mop up efforts on the Slide and Grass Valley Fires, both of which began just a week ago today. Considerable progress has been made in recent days, assisted in part by Saturday's precipitation, as full containment is close on both fires.
The Slide Fire is now 90% contained in the areas of Running Springs and Green Valley Lake, though mandatory evacuations remain in place for these communities, as well as for Arrowbear. Incident Command expects that full containment of the Slide Fire's 12,789 acres could be possible as early as tomorrow. In the meantime, there are two 256 engine crews assigned to this fire, in addition to 29 hand crews, seven helicopters, 24 dozers and 30 water tenders.
News from the Grass Valley Fire is that full containment is expected today, though updated numbers will not be available until tonight. At present, the Grass Valley Fire is contained at 90% over 1,247 acres. Evacuees of the Grass Valley area will be allowed to tour the area, tomorrow, from 9am to 5pm. Before being issued a pass to enter the area, evacuees specific to Grass Valley are asked to meet at the Mary Putnam Henck Intermediate School at 730 Rhine Road in Lake Arrowhead, as early as 9am, to attend a briefing. Those who plan to visit their properties are reminded to bring canvas gloves, sturdy footwear, eye protection, and wear long pants and long sleeves. The Department of Public Health will provide rubber gloves, facemasks, and plastic bags for salvaged belongings.
The County of San Bernardino has also made available listings of burned properties, and this information can be accessed at www.sbassessor.org. Though more information is said to be forthcoming, according to the assessor's website, this week's fires have accounted for 352 properties destroyed, and 59 damaged, so far. The County of San Bernardino reminds that evacuees can call the county's disaster assistance hotline at 211 or, if out of the 909 area code, can dial 888/435-7565 for more information.

Per County: 352 Properties Destroyed, 59 Damaged; Grass Valley Visit for Evacuees Tuesday
The County of San Bernardino has released information on properties damaged or destroyed by the Slide and Grass Valley Fires. This information, listed by address, can be accessed on the website of the county assessor, by logging on to www.sbassessor.org. The following information has been provided: In the community of Lake Arrowhead, 173 properties are deemed destroyed, 19 properties are damaged or labeled partial loss; in Green Valley Lake, 73 properties are destroyed, 22 damaged; and in Running Springs and surrounding areas, current count is 106 destroyed properties, 18 damaged. The county adds that further and subsequent reports will follow but, for now, those who want to verify damage can again visit www.sbassessor.org.
The County has also planned a site visit for those with residences and businesses in Grass Valley. Though the mandatory evacuation order will remain in effect, those interested in viewing their property tomorrow, are asked to attend Mary Putnam Henck Intermediate School at 730 Rhine Road in Lake Arrowhead on Tuesday, October 30, between 9am and 5pm. Evacuees will be given a brief presentation before being issued a pass, which will be necessary to enter the Grass Valley area. Those who attend and plan to visit their property are advised to bring canvas gloves, sturdy footwear, eye protection, and wear long pants and long sleeves. The Department of Public Health will provide rubber gloves, facemasks, and plastic bags for salvaged belongings.
The United States Postal Service announces that the following post offices in the Slide and Grass Valley Fire areas have resumed operations today: Blue Jay, Cedar Glen, Crestline, Lake Arrowhead, Rimforest, Skyforest and Twin Peaks. Those who receive their mail from post offices in Green Valley Lake and Running Springs will continue to receive their mail at Norton Air Force Base in San Bernardino.
The current containment tallies for the fires are 95% containment on the Grass Valley Fire, and 90% containment on the Slide Fire.

Slide Fire Now at 90% Containment; Full Containment Expected on Grass Valley Fire -- Update as of Noon
Updated numbers continue to come in from Incident Command, as progress continue to be made on the Slide and Grass Valley Fires. Today's good news is that the Grass Valley Fire is now at 95% containment and full containment is expected today in the burn area in the vicinity of Twin Peaks and north of Lake Arrowhead. Fire officials report that difficult terrain on the west side of the fire has hampered efforts for full containment thus far. Incident command personnel are continuing to work with cooperating agencies and utility companies to facilitate re-entry in the mandatory evacuation area. Tallies on loss within the burn zone of the Grass Valley Fire remain at 25 structures damaged, 174 destroyed within the fire's 1,247 acres.
Other good news from Incident Command is that the Slide Fire is now at 90% containment, as of today. Nearly 2,000 firefighting personnel continue on the 12,789 acres of burn area in and around the communities of Green Valley Lake and Running Springs. Continuing mild weather conditions have contributed to significant progress on the perimeter containment, and overnight crews worked on hot spots revealed from yesterday's infrared flight information. Fire officials tells us that today's potentially gusty winds up to 25mph may cause an increase in smoke coming from within the fire perimeters.
Mandatory evacuations remain in place until further notice from Heaps Peak Transfer Station, east to the Big Bear Dam, which includes the communities of Arrowbear, Running Springs and Green Valley Lake. The San Bernardino National Forest does remain closed until further notice, though the Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area did re-open yesterday.
We spoke with the California Highway Patrol this morning, and there is no word yet on when Highway 18, down the front way, will reopen. There is reportedly still smoldering, resulting from the Slide Fire, in the 13 Turns portion of the roadway. Highway 18 through Lucerne Valley and Highway 38 remain open to all traffic.

Grass Valley Fire Now at 95% Containment; Slide Fire at 85%; Big Bear Schools Open -- Update as of 9am

It was just last Monday morning when the Grass Valley Fire, northwest of Lake Arrowhead and in the Twin Peaks area, broke out at 5:08am, with the Slide Fire, in the vicinity of Green Valley Lake and Running Springs, being reported at 8:02am on October 22. The cause of both fires remains under investigation, but considerable progress has been made on both blazes.
As of the latest update from Incident Command, the Grass Valley Fire is now 95% contained, and total burned acreage is 1,247 acres. All told, per latest information available, 25 structures were damaged, and 174 were destroyed. Crews continued infrared flyovers yesterday evening, and hot spots are still being found, though the fire has been smoldering. There are currently over 450 firefighters assigned to the Grass Valley Fire, and full containment is expected today. Crews will continue mopping up hot spots 700 feet into the interior from control lines, and 100% around structures. Utility companies are working aggressively to support re-entry of evacuees.
The Slide Fire has now burned 12,789 acres, but is at 85% containment. Over 1,900 firefighting personnel remain assigned to the fire that has burned portions of Green Valley Lake and Running Springs, and those crews include 246 engines, 29 hand crews, seven helicopters, 24 dozers and 30 water tenders. Incident Command reports that fire line construction on the perimeter is almost complete, and construction of contingency lines to the west side of the fire continues. Some hotspots continue to smolder along the Slide Fire's perimeter, and officials report that hazard trees continue to pose a safety threat to firefighters. Utility companies and mop-up crews are still working in the communities affected by the Slide Fire to allow for re-entry of residents, and we are told that the Running Springs Water District has the Running Springs community water and sewer both fully functional and safe. To date, an estimated 200 structures were destroyed in the Slide Fire. Mandatory evacuation orders do remain in effect for Running Springs, Arrowbear and Green Valley Lake.
The County of San Bernardino reminds that evacuees can call the county's disaster assistance hotline at 211 or, if out of the 909 area code, can dial 888/435-7565.
Highway 18, down the front way, remains closed from Kuffel Canyon to the Big Bear Dam, and Highway 330 is closed from Highland to Running Springs. Communities west of Skyforest, Twin Peaks, Rimforest, Blue Jay, Aguafia, Deer Lodge Peak, Skyforest and Cedar Glen are now open to residents, and proof of residency is not required for re-entry. Highway 18 through Lucerne Valley and Highway 38 both remain open to all traffic.
And, in Big Bear news, schools are back in session today. This morning, the Board of Directors of the Department of Water and Power are meeting in closed session. The meeting's one agenda item is listed as Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release, though the meeting was still in session with no results yet available at the time of this broadcast.

October 28, 2007

Caltrans has announced updated information regarding road closures:
Highway 18 is now closed from Kuffel Canyon to Big Bear Dam.
Highway 330 is closed from Highland to Running Springs.


Slide and Grass Valley Fires -- Update as of 1pm
The mandatory evacuation order for the communities of Twin Peaks, Rimforest, Blue Jay, Agua Fria, Deer Lodge Park, Skyforest, Cedar Glen and the majority of Lake Arrowhead have been reduced to voluntary evacuation effective 12pm on October 28, 2007.

The area will be open to residents and re-entry passes will not be issued and are not required.

The areas that suffered extensive fire damage will remain under a mandatory evacuation area with road closures at the following locations:

· Brentwood Drive @ Sonoma Drive

· San Benito Drive @ Pinehurst Drive

· Brentwood Drive @ Pinehurst Drive

· Brentwood Drive @ Oakmont Drive

· Brentwood Drive @ Grass Valley Drive

Other areas under a mandatory evacuation remain in effect until further notice (Running Springs, Arrowbear and Green Valley Lake).

Residents returning to their homes should be aware of the following:

All of the affected areas suffered power outages for some period of time during the fire. Use caution before eating food in your refrigerator or freezer. Food can be spoiled due to power outages. Spoiled food must be disposed of safely and properly. Pick up a food disposal bag, mask, gloves and more information at all Fire Stations.

A light amount of smoke coming from the fire lines is to be expected. Within Lake Arrowhead, there will still be fire patrols monitoring both fire perimeters.




As of Sunday at 9:30am, the Slide Fire is 75% contained with a more accurate 12,789 acres burned; the Grass Valley Fire is 95% contained at 1,140 acres burned.

Both the Slide and Grass Valley Fires are moving closer to containment. Good progress has been made on the Slide Fire on all flanks. The light rain, cool temperatures and higher humidity assisted firefighters yesterday. Fire crews will continue to mop up today and improve the fire lines. Fire patrols are keeping vigilant in residential neighborhoods looking for potential trouble spots. The potential fire growth exists on the northern side of the Slide Fire, away from the towns of Running Springs and Arrowbear. A damage report of lost structures has been delayed until confirmations can be made, but an estimated 200+ homes have been burned.

Both Slide and Grass Valley Fires are now described as low intensity surface fires that are backing, creeping and smoldering. The San Bernardino National Forest remains closed to entry today for public safety. Highway 18 from San Bernardino to the Big Bear Dam remains closed, as well as Highway 330 from Highland to Running Springs. Highway 18 from Big Bear to Lucerne Valley is open, as well as Highway 38--neither route has any restrictions. Mandatory evacuations remain in place for all areas east of Crestline to Snow Valley.

As of Sunday at 7am, the Slide Fire is 65% contained with a more accurate 12,789 acres burned; the Grass Valley Fire is 95% contained at 1,140 acres burned.

October 27, 2007

As of Saturday at 4:30pm, the Slide Fire is 35% contained with 13,800 acres burned; the Grass Valley Fire is 85% contained at 1,140 acres burned.


This is the latest perimeter map for the Grass Valley and Slide Fires. Humidity is up and light rain showers have
been reported this afternoon.

Recently, the Big Bear community has really stepped up to the plate to show support for the firefighters protecting us, and when the call went out for donations to help the firefighters, the response was phenomenal. But now that Stater Bros. Market and the federal government have become involved, all the needs of firefighters are currently being met, so donations are not needed at this time. The firefighters want to thank everyone who donated items when they were needed.

The Slide Fire is 35% contained today and has burned 13,800 acres. The Grass Valley Fire has burned 1,140 acres and is 75% contained. There is no threat to Big Bear Valley at this time, according to fire officials.

The Bear Valley Unified School District has announced that school will resume on Monday for all students. Unless there are unforeseen changes in the fire situation, BVUSD will resume classes Monday, October 29.

Caltrans reports Highway 18 from the Big Bear Dam west remains closed, as well as Highway 330 from Running Springs to Highland. The other two routes leading to and from the Valley remain open without any restrictions. There are no checkpoints on either highway, and you do not need proof of residence or an ID to travel into Big Bear Valley.

The San Bernardino National Forest remains closed to all recreational activities due to the Slide and Grass Valley Fires.

As of Saturday at 9am, the Slide Fire is 35% contained with 13,800 acres burned; the Grass Valley Fire is 75% contained at 1,140 acres burned.

October 26, 2007


The latest Slide Fire Map as of 5pm Friday evening: 13,700 acres and 20% containment.


Firefighters Rich Lyons and Curt McCoy mop up near Highway 18, and (right) Firefighter Tent City at the Snow Valley Incident Command Center.

Progress Made on Slide and Grass Valley Fires; Big Bear Still Safe at This Time -- Update as of 5pm
Over 2,100 firefighters continue to make progress in fire suppression on the Slide Fire and Grass Valley Fire, both of which started early Monday morning.
Fire suppression on the Grass Valley Fire is under the direction of a Type II national incident management team, with the assistance of the U.S. Forest Service as the lead agency among the many crews on this blaze, in the area generally centered northwest of Lake Arrowhead. Containment on this fire is at 70% over 1,100 acres, with an updated structure loss tally at 160. Official reports tell us that firefighters continue to make good progress on line construction, and crews are mopping up 300 feet into the interior of the fire from control lines, and 100% around structures.
The Slide Fire, which has been burning in areas of Green Valley Lake and Running Springs, seems to be slowing and, per our eyewitness reports this afternoon, tends to be smoldering rather than burning, especially in the 13 Turns area of Highway 18, which had been a concern yesterday. Crews have remained in this area both day and night, and the U.S. Forest Service's John Miller notes that though the fire did reach the roadway at certain points, it was a ground fire and most trees along Highway 18 do remain intact. As of yesterday morning, there had been no containment on the Slide Fire, but today's reports are at 15% containment on the 13,378 burned acres on this blaze, under the fire suppression management of a national Type I team.
Last count on structure loss on the Slide Fire was an approximate 200 plus homes, though updated information is expected at this evening's 7pm meetings for evacuees. At both the National Orange Show Fairgrounds in San Bernardino and the Victorville Fairgrounds, evacuees will be addressed, and maps will be provided to outline damaged and destroyed properties. Updated information in terms of re-entry plans and schedules will be available to those who had to evacuate this week, from Crestline to Snow Valley.
The threat to the Big Bear area remains minimal, though, during fire season, it is always prudent to maintain defensible space and have a family evacuation plan that includes the four Ps: papers, prescriptions, pets and photos. Still, there is no imminent threat to our Valley at this time.
Highway 18 through Lucerne Valley and Highway 38 both remain open to all traffic, and no proof of residency is required to access Big Bear from these roadways.
At this time, the Bear Valley Unified School District does plan to have schools open on Monday, though Saturday's Big Bear High School football games and cross country meet have been rescheduled.
Also, just a couple reminders: the San Bernardino National Forest does remain closed until further notice. And tomorrow, Saturday, both the Big Bear City Community Services District and the City of Big Bear Lake will participate in the County's Free Dump Day. For East Valley residents, the electronic waste round-up will take place at CSD's maintenance yard at Paradise Way and Grenfall Lane in Big Bear City. Big Bear Lake residents can take their dumping material to Big Bear Disposal site #1 on Garstin Drive in Big Bear Lake.


The Grass Valley Fire is 70% contained and currently held at 1,100 acres.
The Slide Fire is 15% contained and currently held at 13,378 acres.
The southeast perimeter remains the most active, slowly burning north of Snow Valley.



Public Information Meetings for Grass Valley & Slide Fire Evacuees, at Evac Centers at 7pm Tonight

The Incident Management Team on the Slide and Grass Valley Fires have just announced that public information meetings will be held this evening, for evacuees. The meetings will be at 7pm tonight at the National Orange Show and Victorville Fairgrounds evacuation centers to brief residents of the evacuated areas on the progress of firefighting efforts and display maps of properties damaged or destroyed by the fires. The meeting is intended only for people who have been evacuated from the Slide and Grass Valley Fire areas. The meetings are designed to provide people at the evacuation centers the current update about the firefighting efforts underway for both fires. The latest information about re-entry plans and schedules, as well as resources available to assist displaced homeowners, will also be shared. The meetings will also mark the first official release of information about properties damaged or destroyed by the fires.
At the direction of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, grief counselors and other professionals who can offer assistance to victims will be on-hand to help families who have lost their homes. Dan Kleinman, Deputy Incident Commander from Cal Team I, says, “Our goal is to try to get as much information as we have to the people displaced at these centers. We know that everyone has been through a very difficult time. We want to provide the resources so that people can start rebuilding their lives.”
Residents and property owners who do not plan to attend tonight's meetings can obtain information about their properties by calling the 211 assistance line no sooner than 7pm tonight. Counselors and other forms of assistance will be available on the 211 line. People calling from outside the county can access 211 by calling 1-888-435-7565.


Big Bear Lake had been closed to allow for the Super Scooper (above) and other aircraft pulling
water for fire suppression.

Big Bear Lake Reopened to All Lake Activities
Big Bear Lake is now open to all boating and lake activities, per the Big Bear Municipal Water District--and, according to General Manager Scott Heule, Big Bear Lake is full of trout! The MWD released a statement this afternoon, thanking the public for their cooperation. And, they add, the Municipal Water District considers it a privilege to have been of some assistance to our neighbors who have suffered, and continue to suffer, from the wildfires. For more lake information, please contact the MWD at 866-5796.

Today We Honor the Firefighters Who Lost Their Lives a Year Ago Today

Thank you for joining us in our moment of silence, at noon, to honor the five U.S. Forest Service firefighters from the San Jacinto Ranger District's Engine 57--Mark Loutzenhiser, Jason McKay, Jess McLean, Daniel Hoover Najera and Pablo Cerda—who lost their lives on October 26, 2006 while battling the Esperanza Fire.

Fire Crews Concentrated Near Snow Valley; Big Bear Events and Closures -- Update as of Noon
The updated reports on the Slide and Grass Valley Fires, as of this morning, is that they have achieved improved containment on both fires. Over 2,100 firefighters are at work on both blazes, and the Slide Fire is now at 15% containment on the 13,378 acre blaze. The Grass Valley Fire is now at 70% containment over 1,100 acres, with an updated structure loss count of 160.
Firefighting crews have concentrated efforts on the 13 Turns section of Highway 18, both day and night, to ensure that the Slide Fire does not cross the highway between Snow Valley Ski Area and Green Valley Lake Road. John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service spoke to us directly from this area this morning, and reports that this is a ground fire, and most trees along the roadway do remain intact. However, the fire did reach the roadway, from about a ¼ mile west of the top of 13 Turns and down to near the Green Vally turnoff. Still, Miller tells KBHR, “There are a ton of crews there, putting out hot spots.” That said, he reassures us, “The threat to Big Bear is minimal.”
There is one hot spot that is reportedly visible from the Highway 38 area, and this is directly north of Snow Valley along the ridgeline. The fire, Miller notes, “is in the timber and that's what's creating all the smoke. It is one concentrated area. Crews are there, and there is aircraft working it as well.”
Given today's blue skies in the Big Bear Valley, we will see columns of smoke but again, Miller says, “The threat to Big Bear is low.”
In other Big Bear news related to the fires, Big Bear Lake does remain closed to all boating activity today, to allow for safe water pulls by aircraft for fire suppression. In a conversation Scott Heule, General Manager of the Municipal Water District, last night, he did stress his gratitude to boaters for their gracious compliance.
Bear Valley Unified School District tells us that Saturday's Bears football games and the cross country meet will be rescheduled—our teams will not have to forfeit. The football games against 29 Palms have not yet been rescheduled; the cross country meet will now be held at Yucca Valley on Wednesday, October 31. The BBHS performances at the Performing Arts Center are on for Saturday, at both 1pm and 7pm. Tickets for Thursday and Friday performances will be honored, space permitting. As of today's fire situation, BVUSD does plan to have schools open on Monday.
Other events still on for this weekend include Saturday's final day of Oktoberfest, from noon to midnight; the Soroptomists will still hold their Halls of Horror Haunted House at Snow Play Mountain on Saturday, from 5 to 10pm, and a less-scary version on Sunday, from 4 to 6pm (cost is $5); and the Discovery Center will still hold their Feast of the Harvest Moon, featuring Native American culture, on Saturday from 10am to 3pm.
Also, the Bloodmobile is in town today, if you have an hour to give blood, at Stater Bros. until 4pm today.
And, once again, access to Big Bear, via Highway 38 and Highway 18 through Lucerne Valley is open to all traffic. Officer Gary Fernandez with the California Highway Patrol reiterated for us today, “There are no checkpoints. Highways 18 and 38 are checkpoint free.”
Given that the front way of Highway 18 is closed, we would like to remind you that businesses in Fawnskin and the Boulder Bay area remain open, and would appreciate the support and patronage of the Big Bear community this weekend.

BVUSD Update: No Bears Football Tomorrow, Cross Country Rescheduled, School On for Monday

The Bear Valley Unified School District has just announced that school-related outdoor activities scheduled for this weekend will be rescheduled. The Big Bear High School football games, originally set for Saturday at Minder Field, against 29 Palms will be rescheduled, so no Bears football tomorrow. Also, the Cross County meet scheduled for Saturday, will now be on Wednesday, October 31 at Yucca Valley. Unless there are unforeseen changes in the fire situation, BVUSD will resume classes on Monday, October 29. Updated school information can be accessed on 93.3FM, as well as the school district website at www.bigbear.k12.ca.us.

Updated Numbers on the Slide Fire and Grass Valley Fire
We have just received updated numbers on the fires. The Grass Valley Fire, still at 70% containment over 1,100 burned acres, has an updated burned structure count of 160 structures, per fire officials this morning. More details are expected, with regard to structure loss.
On the Slide Fire, which is at 15% containment with the structure loss tally still at 200 plus homes, the new burned acreage tally is 13,378 acres.

Good News: Slide Fire 15% Contained, Grass Valley Fire 70% Contained -- Update as of 9am
We have good news to report from Incident Command on the Grass Valley and Slide Fire, both of which started Monday morning.
The Grass Valley Fire, which has burned northwest of the Lake Arrowhead area, is now at 70% containment, as of Thursday night. Reports from the U.S. Forest Service tell us that 780 firefighters continue to make good progress on line construction in the Miller Canyon drainage, as well as mop up in the northern and eastern flanks of the fire. Damage assessment teams were able to enter the area, reporting no additional structures, beyond the earlier assessment of 100 plus structures, have burned. Details are said to be released soon. Large scale evacuations and road closures remain in effect surrounding the entire perimeter of the burn area. Firefighting crews, under the direction of Type I and Type II national incident management teams have managed to keep the burn area on the Grass Valley Fire to 1,100 acres.
On the Slide Fire, centered in the Green Valley Lake and Running Springs area, is now at 15% containment, up from yesterday morning's zero percent. At present, official reports indicate that 11,675 acres have burned, and the fire is burning in southwest direction. Over 1,300 personnel are assigned specifically to the Slide Fire and crews report a moderate fire intensity surface fire, backing, occasional torching and short-range spotting. Additional structures were reported lost, with structure protection continuing along Highway 18 and Green Valley. Damage assessment teams are starting to work in the area to provided details on structures destroyed. Incident Command reports that specifics on structures destroyed will be verified and details released soon, though the present count remains at 200 plus at this time. Fire perimeter containment efforts on the Slide Fire are slow due to rough terrain, heavy vegetation and high density residential properties intermixed with bug-killed timber.
Mandatory evacuations remain in place for all communities from west of Big Bear Lake to east of Crestline. Incident Command stresses that Big Bear is not an evacuation area, and that evacuation and road specifics are “seriously re-evaluated by fire managers on a daily basis.”
Big Bear Lake will remain closed to boating activity today, per a directive from the Municipal Water District. Today's closure of the lake will allow for safe water pulls for aircraft using lake water for fire suppression. Scott Heule, General Manager of the MWD says, “We totally appreciate the cooperation we've received from boaters.”
Due to the smoke and resulting poor air quality, the Bear Valley Unified School District has canceled school for today, and this closure will apply to all extra-curricular activities, including this evening's Big Bear High School performance at the PAC. Rainbow Kids Club will be open today, despite the school closure, though parents of Rainbow Kids are reminded that only the Big Bear Elementary School site will be open.
The highways at the east end of the Valley remain open to all traffic, and the California Highway Patrol confirms that there are no checkpoints to enter Big Bear from Highway 38 or Highway 18 from Lucerne Valley.

October 25, 2007

"The Weather Finally Changed In Our Favor" -- Slide and Grass Valley Fires Update as of 5pm
Over 1500 firefighters are in the San Bernardino mountains, hard at work on fire suppression, under the direction of national incident management teams stationed at Rim of the World High School. On the fire scene this afternoon, KBHR's Rick Herrick spoke with Bill Mulner, a strike team leader with the San Bernardino National Forest, who said, “The weather finally changed in our favor, and the fire is doing exactly what we want it to do.”
With improved conditions to battle the blazes, Incident Command was able to report progress on the Slide Fire and, as of this afternoon, have announced 10% containment on this blaze that has burned in areas of Running Springs and Green Valley Lake. The present burn tally on the Slide Fire is at 11,366 acres. Crews are hard at work with water drops from 15 aircraft, including the Super Scooper, and creating dozer lines in the 13 Turns area of Highway 18, between Snow Valley Ski Area and Green Valley Lake Road.
Though we expect updated numbers this evening, the Grass Valley Fire, which has burned in the area of Lake Arrowhead, is currently at 40% containment, having burned 1,100 acres.
Big Bear Lake has been closed to all boaters today, though fishing is still allowed along the shoreline, as the Super Scooper, the amphibious twin-engine airplane, has been skimming the lake to retrieve water for fire suppression. The lake will remain closed until dusk this evening and, pending a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Big Bear Municipal Water District this evening, may be closed beyond today.
Smoke does continue to linger in the Big Bear Valley, due to the inversion layer that traps the Slide Fire smoke in the our mountain-top basin. When the smoke clears, John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service told us earlier today, “Flames may be visible from the Big Bear Dam, but we still do no consider the Slide Fire a threat to Big Bear.”
Due to the smoke and resulting poor air quality, the Bear Valley Unified School District has canceled school for tomorrow, and this closure will apply to all extra-curricular activities, including Friday's Big Bear High School performance at the PAC. Rainbow Kids Club will be open on Friday, despite the school closure, though parents of Rainbow Kids are reminded that only the Big Bear Elementary School site will be open tomorrow.
The highways at the east end of the Valley remain open to all traffic, and the California Highway Patrol confirms for us that there are no checkpoints to enter Big Bear from Highway 38 or Highway 18 from Lucerne Valley.
We expect updated numbers from Incident Command later this evening but, in the meantime, just know that there is no immediate threat to the Big Bear Valley.


Big Bear Lake is closed to boat traffic today to make room for the Super Scooper, which has joined the Slide Fire fight.


Slide Fire Is Now 10% Contained; Grass Valley Fire Still at 40% -- Update as of 3pm
Active fire suppression efforts continue on the Slide Fire, burning in the Running Springs area, and the Grass Valley Fire, in the Lake Arrowhead area. Updated statistics on the blazes will not be available until this evening but, in the meantime, here is the status on the burns: Over 12,000 acres have burned between the two, though they have not merged. At least 200 homes have burned in the Slide Fire, and officials tell us that specifics on those structures destroyed will be verified as soon as it is safe for fire personnel to enter the burned areas. Fire perimeter containment on the Slide Fire has been slow due to rough terrain, heavy vegetation and high density residential properties intermixed with Bark Beetle killed timber—however, good news from Incident Command is that, as of this afternoon, 10% containment has been achieved on the Slide Fire. Crews are continuing with structure protection, and fire suppression efforts along Highway 18. At last count, the Grass Valley Fire is at 40% containment and 100 plus homes have been burned in this area but, again, officials report that no additional structures were destroyed in the Grass Valley Fire on Wednesday.
As of today, the Super Scooper, a large, amphibious twin-engine airplane has joined fire suppression efforts, in addition to 14 other aircraft, capable of water drops. As the Super Scooper is able to fly over Big Bear Lake, while retrieving water, our lake will be closed to all boating activity until dusk this evening.
We can expect continued smoke in our area today. To that end, the Bear Valley Unified School District has canceled school for tomorrow, Friday, as well, after reviewing the report of the Air Quality Management District. This school closure due to air quality will also apply to all extra-curricular activities of BVUSD, including Friday's Big Bear High School performance at the Performing Arts Center. Rainbow Kids Club will be open tomorrow, however all students will be asked to attend the Big Bear Elementary School site on Friday.
Evacuees of neighboring mountain communities are reminded that mail pickup is available at Norton Air Force Base, located at 195 Del Rosa Avenue in San Bernardino, from 1 to 4pm. Those who wish to have their mail forwarded, while staying with family and friends, may do so at all post offices, as well as online at www.usps.com. These postal customers can expect to begin receiving forwarded mail in about four to five delivery days.
Both highways at the east end of Big Bear Valley, Highway 18 through Lucerne and Highway 38, are open to all traffic.
Despite the smoke in our area and the possibility of visibile flames at Big Bear's west end, we have been assured by fire officials that there is no threat to the Big Bear Valley at this time.

Bear Valley Schools Closed Tomorrow; 10 Tips to Help Children
The Bear Valley Unified School District canceled school today, due to the poor air quality resulting from fire smoke. This just in, the school district has decided that there will not be school on Friday. Officials made this choice to cancel school through the week, based on reports from the Air Quality Management District report. This school closure for all Big Bear schools, including Fallsvale, will also apply to all extra-curriculars, including the BBHS play at the PAC on Friday. At this time, the high school performance, “Space: The Final Frontier”, will be on for Saturday's performances. Rainbow Kids Club will be open tomorrow, however only at the Big Bear Elementary site. All Rainbow Kids will be welcome at the BBES site on Friday.
Parents may want to take note of 10 Tips to help children cope with wildfires, whether children are directly affected or watching fire coverage on television. Charles MacCormack, President of Save the Children, recommends the following: turn off the television, listen to your children carefully, give children reassurance and psychological first-aid, be alert for significant changes, expect the unexpected, give your children extra time and attention, be a model for your child, watch your own behavior, help your children return to normal activities, and encourage your child to do volunteer work. For more detailed information on these 10 tips to support children in times of crisis, you can log on to www.savethechildren.org.

Super Scooper Taking Water from Big Bear Lake; Guard Against Smoke -- Update as of Noon

Big Bear Lake is closed to all boaters until dusk today, as water is being taken from the lake to battle the Slide and Grass Valley Fires. There are currently 10 helicopters and four airtankers battling the blazes and, as of today, the Super Scooper is here to assist in water drops. The Super Scooper is a large, amphibious twin-engine airplane that can skim the lake for a large quantity water pickup, so if you see a large yellow and red airplane flying low over the lake, just know that it is here to assist in fire suppression efforts. As for aircraft, the Big Bear City Airport is now under the control of a temporary air traffic control tower, under contract from the Federal Aviation Administration. The temporary tower will take care of all traffic on the airport grounds, as well as air traffic in the immediate area of the airport. Firefighting aircraft are then turned over to air attack as they near the fires. As of Wednesday afternoon, our local airport was host to four Type I helicopters, these are the larger type with the largest capacity. Also on site at the Big Bear City Airport are two medium-sized Type II helicopters, as well as two smaller Type IIIs.
We can expect continued smoke and ash in our area this afternoon, as the inversion layer continues to trap this smoke within the basin of the Big Bear Valley. When and if the smoke clears, John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service tells us, “Flames may be visible from the Big Bear Dam, but we still do no consider the Slide Fire a threat to Big Bear.”
With regard to smoke in our area, the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health says that these conditions can be hazardous for young children, the elderly, and individuals with heart conditions or chronic lung diseases, such as asthma and bronchitis. Health Officer Margaret Beed suggests that these people remain on their medication, and be sure to have at least a five-day supply on hand. Blowing dust, ashes and other debris can be irritating and dangerous for eyes, so it is suggested that individuals outdoors wear sunglasses to deflect materials in the air. For specks in the eye, do not rub eyes; instead, try lifting the upper eyelid outward and down over the lower lid, and allow tears to wash the speck out. If indoors, it is best to have recirculated air, rather than outside smokey air, entering the home. When smoke is present, Beed advises staying indoors with the doors shut, avoid physical exertion, keep your airways moist by drinking lots of water, and avoid cooking and vacuuming, as this can increase indoor pollutants.
As for the fires prompting these smoke warnings, updated reports remain at 12,466 acres burned on both the Slide and Grass Valley Fires, with over 1,500 firefighting personnel on scene, under the direction of both Type I and Type II national incident management teams. Despite the potentially visible flames, the Big Bear area does remain safe from imminent threat at this time. Still, in our mountain communities during fire season, it is always a good idea to make sure that dead vegetation, especially pine needles and leaves, are cleared from around homes and, while you're at it, be sure not to overlook pine needles in roofline gutters, as these can be easily ignited by flying embers.

Bear Valley Community News Updates: BBHS Performance, Firemen's Dinner, Fawnskin Chamber

This evening's Big Bear High School performance at the Performing Arts Center in Big Bear Lake has been canceled, as there is no school today, due to the poor air quality resulting from the Slide and Grass Valley Fires. The BBHS show, titled “Space: The Final Frontier” is tentatively on for tomorrow, Friday, at 7pm, and the show is scheduled to go on on Saturday, for both the 1pm and 7pm performances. Thursday tickets will be honored during other show times and tickets are still available at $11 for adults, $9 for students. For more information, please call the PAC at 866-4970. We will be sure to update you should show information change. (Since this posting, BVUSD has closed school on Friday, which means that Friday's performance at the PAC will be canceled.)
The Community Appreciation Dinner for Emergency Personnel on the Butler #2 Fire, originally scheduled for Sunday, October 28, has been postponed due to the current fire incidents. The event to honor firefighters, hosted by the Fawnskin community, will now be held on Sunday, November 18 at St. Joseph's Catholic Church on Big Bear Lake's North Shore. For more information on this event, please contact Jim McGrew at 866-9447.
The Fawnskin Chamber of Commerce meeting, scheduled for this evening at 6pm, is still on, per Chamber President Jim Dooley. This evening's meeting, to be held at the old schoolhouse at Miller Park on Chickasaw in Fawnskin, will address the proposed Moon Camp development, which will be east of Fawnskin on the North Shore. The Fawnskin Chamber meeting will feature guest speakers Tim Wood and Michael Perry of the Moon Camp development. All are invited to this two-hour meeting. More information is available from Jim Dooley at 866-3414.

Officials Now Report 12,466 Burned Acres on Slide and Grass Valley Fires -- Update as of 10:30am

Updated information from Incident Command this morning is that 12,466 acres have now burned in the San Bernardino mountains between the Slide and Grass Valley Fires, though these two blazes, both of which started Monday morning, have not merged.
As the fire suppression on both fires is under the direction of both a Type I and Type II national incident management team, resources are being shared between the two fires. Of those resources, there are 10 helicopters and four airtankers on scene. With these aircraft in place, infrared flight data has been able to provide updated information on burned acreage.
As of this morning, 1,100 acres have burned on the Grass Valley Fire, which the U.S. Forest Service indicates to be northwest of Lake Arrowhead and in the Twin Peaks area. Damage assessment teams were able to enter the area yesterday, reporting no additional structures had burned on Wednesday. There are presently 28 hand crews, 52 engines, six water tenders and a dozer at work on fire suppression and mop up on the Grass Valley Fire, which is at 40% containment.
The Slide Fire burned more aggressively on Wednesday, due to continued dry weather with extremely dry fuels, and spotty fire behavior with flames of 3 to 6 feet in height. There is no containment figure yet for the Slide Fire which, per our eyewitness reports, has burned on the north side of Green Valley Lake, and also wrapped around to the community's south side. For the most part, the center portion of the Green Valley Lake area is OK, except for a burned hardware store and a real estate office in the downtown portion. Otherwise, the town itself remains intact, as of our visit to the area Wednesday night. Crews on the Slide Fire include 99 engines, 11 hand crews, 29 water tenders and two dozers. The updated burned acreage tally for the Slide Fire is now at 11,366 acres.
There are a total of over 1,500 fire personnel battling these two blazes, and mandatory evacuations remain in place for all communities east of and including Crestline to the Snow Valley Ski Area. Voluntary evacuations are in place for those in Cedar Pines Park, Valley of Enchantment and portions of Highland.
Fire officials reiterate that there is no immediate threat to the Big Bear Valley, still, as of this morning. There will be ash and smoke in our area, as the Santa Ana winds have diminished and the inversion layer is trapping the smoke down into the basin of the Big Bear Valley. Bear Valley Unified Schools remain closed today, due to the air quality. Students who attend Rainbow Kids Club are welcome at the Big Bear Elementary School site, which will be the only Rainbow Kids Club open today.

Grass Valley Fire Now 40% Contained; BVUSD Schools Closed Due to Smoke -- Update as of 9am

Reports from Incident Command at this hour assure us that the Slide and Grass Valley Fires still do not pose an immediate threat to the Big Bear Valley at this time. Both fires are being overseen by a Type I and a Type II national incident management team, allowing the greatest amount of resources to the San Bernardino mountains. Incident Command remains stationed at Rim of the World High School, though a base camp has been established at Snow Valley Ski Area, where many of the over 1,500 firefighters are camping between long shifts of fire suppression.
Updated tallies on the Lake Arrowhead area Grass Valley Fire, which is now 40% contained, is that 1,100 acres have burned. As of last night, officials report that no additional structures had burned yesterday, leaving the burned home count at an estimated 100 plus.
On the Slide Fire in the Running Springs and Green Valley Lake areas, containment is still at zero. An estimated 200 plus homes have burned and some additional structures were burned on Wednesday, though an updated number on total loss has not yet been available. The Slide Fire has burned 10,800 acres.
Official sources confirm for us this morning that the two fires have not merged. John Miller with the U.S. Forest Service tells us, “We don't see a chance of that.”
The Slide Fire, however, has come toward the far west end of the Butler #2 Fire which, is a potential benefit in that that vegetation has already burned, which would slow any progress of the Slide Fire toward the Fawnskin area. This morning, Miller noted, “Flames may be visible from the Big Bear Dam, but we still do no consider the Slide Fire a threat to Big Bear.”
Due to poor air quality resulting from smoke on the two fires, all schools within the Bear Valley Unified School District have been canceled for today. The Rainbow Kids Club daycare center is open, however only the site at Big Bear Elementary is open today. All Rainbow Kids Club students are welcome at the Big Bear Elementary site. All San Bernardino Valley College classes at Big Bear High School have been canceled for this evening.
Highway 18 through Lucerne Valley, and Highway 38 do remain open. All official agencies tell us that these roads are open to all traffic, and Officer Gary Fernandez with the California Highway Patrol says that there is no checkpoint to come up the mountain.

October 24, 2007

No School for Students of Bear Valley Unified Tomorrow, Due to Air Quality
The Bear Valley Unified School District has canceled school for Thursday, due to current and predicted unhealthy levels of air quality. There will be no school for students in Big Bear, including Fallsvale, tomorrow. BVUSD will alert us as to whether or not there will be school on Friday, as no decision has yet been made.

Smoke Expected in Bear Valley; Grass Valley Fire Now 30% Contained -- Update as of 5pm

There will be smoke in the Big Bear Valley this evening, but we can report to you, with assurance, that there is still no imminent threat to the Big Bear area resulting from the Slide Fire and Grass Valley Fire. John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service tells KBHR this evening, “Right now, we do not feel that there is a threat to Big Bear, but residents of Big Bear Valley can expect heavy smoke.” This smoke, rising in our direction, is in part because the Santa Ana winds are diminishing and, also, due to an inversion layer, per fire officials.
Sources from Incident Command, now under the direction of both Type I and Type II national incident management teams stationed at Rim of the World High School, have told us that the Grass Valley Fire, in the Lake Arrowhead vicinity, has been less active today. The Slide Fire, burning in the Running Springs area has been active, but is moving in a southwest direction, away from the Big Bear Valley. All sources confirm that the two fires have not merged. The Slide Fire, we're told, has also not reached the burn areas of the Butler and Butler #2 Fires from September. As further reassurance, Miller tells KBHR, “There are over 21 square miles of recently burned vegetation that sits between Fawnskin and the Slide Fire. The recently burned areas could be a benefit in slowing any progress from the other fires.”
Though updated numbers have not yet been available in terms of structure loss on the Slide and Grass Valley Fires, we can expect some updated information on Thursday. Tom Kempton at Incident Command tells us that because the Grass Valley Fire has slowed some today, crews are in the area to do mop up work around burned structures, and anticipate being able to present a count of burned homes on Thursday. At this time, the count remains at at least 100, with an additional 6,000 structures still threatened. The Grass Valley Fire is now reported as 30% contained, with nearly 550 firefighters assigned, including 99 engines. One thousand plus acres have burned in the Grass Valley Fire.
The Slide Fire, which has been more active today, has been burning vigorously in the Running Springs and Fredalba area, though aircraft crews have continued water drops in an effort to save the downtown area of Running Springs. Current tallies reflect that over 10,150 acres have burned on this fire, at least 200 homes have been lost, and there is no estimation of containment at this time. Over 550 firefighting personnel are assigned to the Slide Fire.
When we spoke with Firefighter Kempton earlier today, he noted that the fires are wind-driven and that “combustible materials around homes have made a difference.” Though the Slide and Grass Valley Fires do not pose an immediate threat to the Big Bear area, we do recommend that you maintain defensible space around your home, including the clearing of pine needles and roofline gutters.
Highway 18 through Lucerne Valley does remain open, as does Highway 38. Per official sources at the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, CalTrans, the U.S. Forest Service and the California Highway Patrol, access on Highway 38 is open to all traffic, though we do suggest that those leaving the mountain during fire season carry proof of residence. Still, Officer Gary Fernandez with the CHP tells KBHR, “The back roads to Big Bear are wide open. There is no checkpoint.”
So, to recap, the Grass Valley Fire has been less active today and is now 30% contained, the Slide Fire continues to burn in a southwest direction, and at this time, there is no indication that the Big Bear Valley is in any immediate danger due to these fires burning in mountain communities to the west.




This photo is taken from Running Springs School Road, looking west, as water drops are made
just west of Running Springs, in an effort to save the downtown area on Wednesday afternoon.

Winds Push Slide Fire Southwest; Grass Valley Fire Not as Active Today; Big Bear Safe -- Update as of 3pm

We have just gotten off the phone with Incident Command, which is now two national management teams, both Type I and Type II, both of which are overseeing fire suppression efforts on the Slide and Grass Valley Fires, and currently stationed at Rim of the World High School. Incident Command does assure us that there is no threat to the Big Bear Valley at this time. Tom Kempton, a firefighter from Anchorage, Alaska on the Type I team, tells KBHR, “Big Bear has not had any fires in the area. The Grass Valley Fire has not been active today. Crews are actively mopping up around structures and are working to get an accurate count.” It is expected that a new number in terms of structure loss in the vicinity of Lake Arrowhead will be available on Thursday. At the current count, the U.S. Forest Service reports that at least 100 homes have burned, with another 6000 threatened. Per Thompson, who had been on Amador Drive above Grass Lake, he says that fire activity has been very spotty—in fact, a couple homes were destroyed in that area and, yet, next door there was a home with a wood shake roof that had not burned. Thompson noted that along the golf course in the Grass Valley Fire area, six homes in a row had been burned yet one, on the end, remained untouched, as it was surrounded by gravel, and all vegetation had been cleared. This home was only damaged in that there was cracked glass from the heat.
To that end, Thompson advises all mountain residents, “Now would be a great time to check your gutters for pine needles.” Both of these fires, he adds, “are really wind-driven events, and combustible materials around homes have made a difference.”
On the Slide Fire, which is now estimated to have burned over 5,100 acres, Incident Command says this blaze has been more active and that activity is mostly directed to the southwest from the Running Springs and Green Valley Lake areas. At last count, 200 plus homes had burned in this area, with an estimated 10,000 homes still threatened.
Incident Command says that they are planning a town meeting for evacuees of the Grass Valley Fire, though no time or location has yet been announced. This town meeting may take place on Thursday and, presumably, will be held in close proximity to an evacuation center, which may be the one headquartered at the National Orange Show Fairgrounds. But, again, time and location have not yet been determined.
Again, Incident Command has said that there is no fire activity reported in the Big Bear area today. The Grass Valley Fire has not been as active today, and the Slide Fire has been moving in a southwest direction.
Fire officials within Big Bear tell us that we can expect smoke within the Big Bear Valley this evening, due to the inversion layer but, again, Big Bear remains safe at this time.


Smoke is drifting in to the Big Bear Valley from the Slide and Grass Valley Fires. Still, there is no
need for alarm in the Big Bear area.


Hesperia Man Arrested for Arson Last Night, for Brush Fire Off Highway 173
We have just received word from the California Highway Patrol, that John Alfred Rund of Hesperia has been arrested for arson. Here is the complete text of the CHP press release, sent to KBHR today:
On October 23, 2007 at approximately 8:50 pm, CHP Officer Chris Denkers and Officer Bill Hatcher from the Victorville CHP area were assigned to a wildfire traffic control post on SR-173 at Arrowhead Lake Road. Both Officers were informed by a witness that a brush fire was starting on SR-173 south of Arrowhead Lake Road. Officer Denkers contacted the Barstow Communication Center and responded to the scene, where he observed four individuals attempting to extinguish the brush fire by using shovels and dirt. Witnesses at the scene informed Officer Denkers that a suspicious individual was seen squatting down near the point of origin and left the scene on a Honda motorcycle. The individual was wearing a red and white striped helmet.
CHP helicopter H-80 piloted by Officer Rowland Barry and Flight Officer Mike Adams immediately responded to the scene and began an aerial search using infrared equipment. A responding San Bernardino County Fire Engine advised that the motorcycle was heading toward the road closure on SR-173 at SR-138. Officer Barry spotted the motorcycle and followed it into an address on SR-173. The helicopter crew then directed CHP and San Bernardino County Sheriff's personnel to the location where they made contact with the subject.
After further investigation, John Alfred Rund, 48 (DOB: 01/21/59) from Hesperia, was arrested for arson.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Bomb/Arson Detail, along with San Bernardino County Fire Department, will be conducting an arson investigation. The investigation is ongoing and it is unknown if John Rund is connected to any other fire in San Bernardino County, as the cause of those fires has not been determined.
The outcome of this arrest is due to the combined efforts of local concerned citizens along with the multi-agency law enforcement presence in the San Bernardino mountains.
San Bernardino County Supervisor Dennis Hansberger received the news of the arrest and said, “I am heartened to hear of the arrest and pleased that we are remaining diligent to bring about safety in our county.”


Big Bear Lake Fire Department's Brush Engine Crew 281, which includes firefighters Rick Flint,
Ken Peterson, Mitch Hollenbaugh and Dave Tayne, are assisting in fire suppression efforts
in neighboring mountain communities.


Still No Threat to Big Bear at This Time -- Fires Update as of Noon
Though smoke does and will remain visible in the Big Bear area, officials do assure us that there is still no immediate threat to the Big Bear Valley, resulting from the Slide and Grass Valley Fires. According to Sergeant Matthew Schilling with the Big Bear Station of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, “Nothing has really changed from yesterday, for Big Bear.” Schilling was present at this morning's briefing on the fires that burn in neighboring mountain communities and reassures, “The winds have settled down a bit. Nothing has changed dramatically, as far as our community is concerned.”
Fire officials tells us that we will be seeing smoke coming over Sugarloaf Mountain and the Bear Mountain Resort area today. This is smoke from the Slide Fire burning in the Running Springs area. Officials further note that the inversion layer has laid the smoke heavy in the Santa Ana River area and, as the weather changes and warms up, the drift smoke will rise and show heavy over these areas. Just to reassure our listeners in the Big Bear Valley, fire crews have been out investigating reports of smoke, and it is confirmed to be the drift smoke from the Slide Fire.
We have also checked on the Butler #2 Fire and, at this time, there are no reports of flare-ups in that fire zone, though crews are still assigned to this burn area.
Updated reports on the total burned acreage and loss of homes on the Slide and Grass Valley Fires have not yet been made available today. At last count, the Slide Fire, which has been burning vigorously in the Running Springs area and, as of last night, had posed a threat to the Rimwood Ranch area, is listed as having burned at least 4,000 acres in the Green Valley Lake and Running Springs areas. At last count, 200 homes had been burned in the Slide Fire.
The Grass Valley Fire, which yesterday prompted mandatory evacuations for all communities from Crestline east to Snow Valley Ski Area, has burned at least 113 structures, though we anticipate that number to be higher when another count is made. So far, 1000 acres have burned on this fire, which is west of the Slide Fire.
Highway 38 does remain open to all traffic, as does Highway 18 through Lucerne Valley. The Sheriff's Department tells us that residency is not required for access to Big Bear, though we recommend that, during fire season, you should always carry proof of residency when leaving the mountain.
And again, despite the smoke, officials tell us that no immediate threat is posed to the Big Bear Valley.


The view of the Slide Fire, from west of Lake Arrowhead, as of Tuesday. The Lake Arrowhead Dam is
in the foreground, the Cedar Glen area just beyond that, to the right.


Mail Pick-Up Available for Mountain Evacuees Today, at Norton Air Force Base

Evacuees will be able to pick up their mail today, at Norton Air Force Base, from 1 to 4pm. Those who receive their mail from post offices in Blue Jay, Cedar Glen, Crestline, Lake Arrowhead, Rimforest, Running Springs, Skyforest, Twin Peaks and Green Valley Lake can get their mail at Norton Air Force Base, located at 195 Del Rosa Avenue in San Bernardino. As of tomorrow, mail will be available at this location from 10am to 4pm. Residents are advised to bring photo identification, as it will be required for mail pickup. Mail pick-up will be the only service available at this location; postal retail services are available at several nearby post offices. The temporary post office at Norton Air Force Base is being staffed by local postmasters of the aforementioned communities, and volunteer employees from area post offices. Despite yesterday's report from the U.S. Postal service that postal customers of the Fawnskin Post Office would also be affected, Fawnskin Postmaster Cynthia Crane tells KBHR that normal mail operations do continue for Fawnskin.

Fire Officials Confirm That Smoke in the Valley Is From Slide Fire

Fire officials tells us that we will be seeing smoke coming over Sugarloaf Mountain and the Bear Mountain Resort area today. This is smoke from the Slide Fire burning in the Running Springs area. Officials further note that the inversion layer has laid the smoke heavy in the Santa Ana River area and, as the weather changes and warms up, the drift smoke will rise and show heavy over these areas. Just to reassure our listeners in the Big Bear Valley, fire crews have been out investigating reports of smoke, and it is confirmed to be the drift smoke from the Slide Fire.
Though there is no immediate threat to our community at this time, we do encourage you to take this opportunity to remove pine needles and excess vegetation around your home. The Neighborhood Chipping Program for the City of Big Bear Lake will continue curbside pick up of vegetation and tree limbs in the western-most neighborhoods of Big Bear Lake, including Boulder Bay, through this Sunday.

Thank You, Big Bear, for Your Donations; More to Be Delivered to Fire Crews Today

The Big Bear community continues to be helpful and generous—we have reports that five truckloads of donations were taken to firefighters from the First Baptist Church yesterday, which, we're told, firefighters in the Arrowbear area were very grateful to receive. Locals packed sandwiches and brown bag lunches, and local restaurants B's Backyard BarBQ, Domino's Pizza and Carl's Jr. also contributed large amounts of food. Donations can still be taken to the First Baptist Church, just east of the Sheriff's Department on Big Bear Boulevard, until 3:30pm today. The Big Bear Chamber of Commerce will also accept donations at their offices at 630 Bartlett Road in the Village, and their offices will be open until 5pm today. Fire crews have requested the following items, if you feel compelled to donate: canned soda with caffeine, Visine, chapstick, sunscreen, healthy snacks such as beef jerky, energy bars and nuts, and candy bars, specifically Snickers, Milky Way and Hersheys with almonds. Thank you, Big Bear Valley, for your spirit of generosity.

Governor Schwarzenegger, Senator Dutton and Assemblyman
Adams Address Mountain Evacuees
Governor Schwarzenegger toured burn areas of the Lake Arrowhead area yesterday and had much to say to residents who have been under a mandatory evacuation due to the Slide and Grass Valley Fires. “I was told over 200 homes have burned here,” the Governor said of the Grass Valley Fire, from an 11am press conference at Mary Putnam Henck Intermediate School in Lake Arrowhead. “And I've seen some of the homes, and it is really sad… I mean, I'm heartbroken to see those kinds of things, because these are people that have saved their money for many, many years… and then all of a sudden, from one hour to the next, those homes are destroyed. So I think that we have to do everything that we can to help those people on the state level, local level, and also the federal level, to get them the money to get back on their feet as quickly as possible... I'm here to pay full attention to all of you. You should know that you're not out there by yourself fighting those fires, that the state is there to help you. I wanted to come here to put the spotlight on those fires so that we get the state and federal help as quickly as possible also here, and that we're going to help you then rebuild this area as quickly as possible.”
Senator Bob Dutton, also present at the press conference, added, “I want to thank all the firefighters… These people here have done a tremendous job up here. I'm very proud of our law enforcement, Highway Patrol, Sheriff, as well as the County Fire and all the local agencies responding. And to the people I just want to say, this is one of those times, too, that it's not over yet; we all need to work together. It's very important. We've been, unfortunately, through this drill before. And there are going to be some people in need of things, so I want people to start thinking about how they can help out individually, join together as a community to help those in need.”
Assemblyman Anthony Adams, who represents the 59th District including Lake Arrowhead and Crestline, said, “I want to implore all of you to be involved. If you have not been personally devastated by the tragedy that are these fires, then you have an opportunity to reach out to these communities via your donations, your time, your energy and your prayers. And I would implore you to do that, to be a part of the solution. The state stands ready to assist you in every way, but there is never a substitute for your own personal involvement and for the friendship and the care and support of a neighbor.”

Type II Incident Management Team Now Overseeing Slide & Grass Valley Fires -- Update as of 9am
The Slide Fire, in the Green Valley Lake and Running Springs area, and the Grass Valley Fire, in the Arrowhead area, continue to burn but there is still no immediate threat to the Big Bear Valley.
As of yesterday evening, Incident Command on the fires is being overseen by a Type II national incident management team, with a Type I team due in today, to oversee fire suppression efforts on the Slide Fire, which, as of this morning, has over 500 firefighting personnel on scene.
As of yesterday, mandatory evacuations were ordered for all residences west of Snow Valley. Mandatory evacuations remain in effect for all other communities from Crestline east to Snow Valley Ski Area, including Lake Arrowhead and Cedar Glen. Mountain Community Hospital in Lake Arrowhead has been evacuated. Voluntary evacuations are also in effect for Cedar Pines Park and Valley of Enchantment and the City of Highland, between Highway 330 and Weaver Avenue, north of Highland Avenue. Per fire officials, mountain residents ordered to evacuate and in need of shelter are advised to go the Victorville Fairgrounds at 14800 7th Street in Victorville. This center is accepting people and horses. To access the fairgrounds, evacuees can take Highway 18 downbound to Highway 138 to the 15 North, then exit at Palmdale.
For Big Bear residents, Highway 18 through Lucerne Valley and Highway 38 through Mentone both remain open.
Latest reports from Incident Command on the Slide and Grass Valley Fires tell us that 4,000 acres have burned on the Slide Fire, which has resulted in the loss of approximately 200 homes in the Running Springs and Green Valley areas. The Grass Valley Fire is now at 5% containment with 1,000 acres burned and at least 100 structures lost.
Though there is no immediate threat to Big Bear communities, residents may want to take this opportunity to continue clearing defensible space around homes. The City of Big Bear Lake continues the Neighborhood Chipping Program at the west end of Big Bear Valley, for all neighborhoods west of Delamar and Tamarack through Sunday, October 28.
In other Big Bear news, today's County of Department Public Health flu shot clinic, to be held at the Big Bear Senior Center, will not take place today, but will be rescheduled.


On the scene of the Slide Fire, in the Knob Hill area of Running Springs, as of Tuesday afternoon.

Evacuation Orders -- Update as of 7am

Mandatory evacuation orders are in effect for every community west of Snow Valley. Mandatory evacuations remain in effect for all other communities from Crestline to Snow Valley Ski Area, including Lake Arrowhead and Cedar Glen. Mountains Community Hospital in Lake Arrowhead has been evacuated. Voluntary evacuations are in effect for Cedar Pines Park and Valley of Enchantment.

October 23, 2007


Additional Mandatory Evacuations Ordered; Big Bear Still Safe -- Update as of 5pm
The Slide and Grass Valley Fires continue their intense burn, which has resulted in additional mandatory evacuations for all those in mountain communities west of the Big Bear Dam.
The San Bernardino County Emergency Operations Center and the U.S. Forest Service have contacted KBHR to let us know that additional mandatory evacuations have been ordered, as of late this afternoon, due to growth of the Slide and Grass Valley Fires. Mandatory evacuations are now in place for all mountain communities west of the Big Bear Dam, with the exception of those in the Cedar Pines Park and Valley of Enchantment areas—these areas, along with Highland, are currently under a voluntary evacuation, though John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service says that it is “highly recommended” that all residents in these areas do evacuate at this time. The National Orange Show Fairgrounds in San Bernardino are open to evacuees, and dogs and cats are welcome at this evacuation center, located on Arrowhead Avenue, just south of Mill Street. Livestock and large animals can be housed at the evacuation center at the Victorville Fairgrounds, at 14800 7th Street in Victorville. Evacuees are encouraged to use Highway 18 to reach the bottom of the mountain, rather than Highway 330.
Despite these evacuations for all communities west of the Big Bear Dam, official reports from this afternoon's briefing assure us that there is no imminent threat to the Big Bear area at this time. We are told that the fires are “still blowing away from Big Bear.”
Earlier today, the U.S. Forest Service reported that 125 homes had been lost in the Slide Fire, which is burning in the vicinity of Green Valley Lake and Running Springs. However, in terms of loss of homes, John Miller with the U.S. Forest Service tells KBHR, “That number is rapidly climbing, because we've been losing homes all day.” That said, in terms of structures lost and an update on the 4,000 acres burned on the Slide Fire, Miller says “there is no estimate at this time, but it is well in excess of that.” Miller notes that the Slide fire is posing an imminent threat to Rimwood Ranch, in the Running Springs area.
“Between the two fires,” Miller says, “we know that 300 plus structures have been destroyed. We know that there are 10,000 structures that are threatened, not including those in Highland, Crestline and San Bernardino.”
During today's 11am press conference in Lake Arrowhead, Governor Schwarzenegger said, “I've seen some of the homes right now and it's heartbreaking. There are homes being destroyed right now, as we speak.”
As for the Grass Valley Fire, which has burned 1,000 acres in the Lake Arrowhead and Grass Valley areas, Miller notes that the major threat there is to the Crestline area.
As of this evening, a Type II national incident management team will oversee Incident Command on the Slide and Grass Valley Fires. Tomorrow, a Type I team, which has greater spending authority, will be in place to oversee fire suppression efforts on the Slide Fire.
Highway 38 and Highway 18, through Lucerne Valley do remain open to all traffic and, again, official reports tell us that there is no imminent threat to the Big Bear area at this time.

Wednesday's Flu Clinic to Be Rescheduled
Due to the fires, the County Department of Public Health will not be hosting the $5 flu shot clinic at the Big Bear Senior Center on Wednesday, October 24. This flu clinic will be rescheduled.



The Slide Fire jumped Highway 18 this morning, at this intersection in Running Springs.

Slide and Grass Valley Fires Update, as of 3pm
Despite the large plumes of smoke visible to the west of Big Bear Valley, we are assured that there is no threat to the Big Bear area at this time. Of the Grass Valley and Slide Fires, Steve Loe with the U.S. Forest Service had said this morning, “It's the driest it's ever been. It's a battle.”
The Slide Fire continues to burn in areas around Green Valley Lake and Running Springs, and mandatory evacuations remain in place for residents of these communities, as well as Arrowbear. Due to heavy and erratic winds, reportedly up to 50 miles per hour, the Slide Fire continues to grow, and total burned acreage has been updated to 4,000 acres as of this afternoon. This morning, official reports had indicated that 25 homes had burned, but that count has been revised as 100 homes in the Running Springs area were lost to the blaze last night. That said, the count for loss of homes in the Slide Fire area has grown to at least 125 though KBHR's Rick Herrick, on scene in Running Springs, saw at least a dozen homes burning in recent hours. He also reports that the Slide Fire did jump Highway 18 just west of Running Springs in the Fredalba area and is now burning on the south side of the mountain. The Slide Fire is also burning along the ridgeline just north of Highway 18, in the turns area between Arrowbear and Snow Valley.
Due to winds and intensity on the Slide Fire, a voluntary evacuation has just been issued for residents of Highland. An evacuation center has already been established at the National Orange Show Fairgrounds, located at 689 S. E Street in San Bernardino. Dogs and cats are welcome at this location. For larger animals and livestock, an evacuation area is located at the Victorville Fairgrounds, at 14800 7th Street in Victorville.
The Grass Valley Fire, which burns in the vicinity of Lake Arrowhead and Grass Valley, has now burned 1000 acres, though a revised home loss update has not been issued since 25 structures were reported burned earlier today.
The U.S. Forest Service tells KBHR that there is no fire in Forest Falls and no fire in the Highway 38 area.
At this time, Highway 18 down the front way and Highway 330 remain closed to all traffic. Big Bear can be accessed from Highway 18, out of Lucerne Valley, and Highway 38, and no proof of residency is required to come up the mountain.
As of today, the San Bernardino National Forest is closed.
The U.S. Postal Service reports that mail delivery has not been possible for 65 post offices throughout Southern California, including the areas of Blue Jay, Cedar Glen, Crestline, Green Valley Lake, Lake Arrowhead, Rimforest, Running Springs, Skyforest and Twin Peaks. The Postal Service says that conditions will be reevaluated daily, and that alternative pickup sites may be available in coming days.
Again, we just want to reiterate that though Highway 18, up the front way, and Highway 330 do remain closed because of the Slide and Grass Valley Fires, the U.S. Forest Service tells us that there is no imminent threat to the Big Bear Valley at this time.



In the Running Springs area this afternoon: a burned home in the Valley Ridge section.


Above photos: a view of Lake Arrowhead with Slide Fire smoke in the foreground, Grass Valley Fire smoke in the background and, at right, Knob Hill, at the western-most end of Running Springs.

Events and Classes Still On in the Big Bear Valley -- Updated
In other news in the Big Bear Valley, all San Bernardino Valley College classes at Big Bear High School are cancelled for today--classes will resume on Thursday, October 25, per administrators.
The final Big Bear Chamber of Commerce Mixer of the season will be held at Snow Summit Ski Resort this evening, from 5 to 7pm.
Big Bear Middle School will hold their fall performance, titled “Music of the Night”, at the BBMS Gym this evening. The public is welcome to this free performance at 7pm.
The 37th annual Oktoberfest is still on for this weekend, with the final day of fun scheduled for noon to midnight on Saturday, October 27.

Still No Immediate Threat to Big Bear at This Time -- Fires Update as of noon

Governor Schwarzenegger is in Lake Arrowhead today, where he will hold a press conference and tour the burn areas of the Slide and Grass Valley Fires, where, to date, 138 structures are reported as being lost to the blazes.
The Slide Fire continues to burn in the Green Valley Lake area, and has reportedly burned 4,000 acres as of this morning, per the U.S. Forest Service. KBHR's Rick Herrick, on scene in the Slide Fire area and in Running Springs, reports, “Most of Running Springs west of Highway 330 and the Knob Hill area west of Running Springs are in peril. At least a dozen homes have already burned. The fire has moved south of Highway 18 and possibly south of Highway 330. Winds are gusting heavily in Running Springs, probably 50 miles per hour.”
Subsequent reports from the California Highway Patrol also indicate that the Slide Fire is now burning south of Highway 18, just west of Running Springs in the Fredalba area.
There are currently at least 22 engines on scene in the Slide Fire area, as well as six water tenders and the DC-10, which is making phoscheck retardant drops in the Running Springs area.
U.S. Forest Service's Rocco Terraciano, at a helitack staging area in Big Bear City, tells KBHR that four Type I helicopters, capable of water drops of 2 to 3,000 gallons each, are already at work on fire suppression. Tomorrow, four more Type I helicopters are expected and, today, two more Type II helicopters, which can drop water and transport crews, and a Type III helicopter, which can do water drops and infrared flights and mapping, are expected in our area, to battle the Slide and Grass Valley Fires.
Reports from the Grass Valley Fire, in the Grass Valley and Lake Arrowhead area, are that at least 300 acres have burned, with a loss of at least 113 structures.
At this time, we are told that there is no fire in the vicinity of Highway 38, and no fire in the Forest Falls area.
Highway 38 and Highway 18, through Lucerne Valley, are both open to traffic, and no proof of residency is required to enter the Big Bear Valley. Highway 18, down the front way, as well as Highway 330, do remain closed and, as mentioned, the Slide Fire has now crossed this area of highway, just south of Running Springs.
And, this just in, the San Bernardino National Forest is closed, effective today.
Still, we want to assure you that there is no threat to the Big Bear Valley at this time. We will continue to update you throughout the day at 93.3 FM, and will be bringing you news from Governor Schwarzenegger's press conference in Lake Arrowhead.


An intense blaze at a home in the Green Valley Lake area, as of Monday afternoon.

Report from the Slide Fire Area in Running Springs, as of 10:45am

Governor Schwarzenegger is en route to Lake Arrowhead this morning, where he will hold a press conference and tour burn areas in the Slide and Grass Valley Fires where, per official reports, 138 structures have been lost. KBHR's Rick Herrick is also en route to the burn areas, and reports that the Slide Fire has now burned just east of Green Valley Lake Road, when approaching on Highway 18 from Snow Valley. The fire is approaching the ridgeline on Highway 18, in the turns section, about a mile east of the Green Valley Lake turnoff.
From Running Springs, Herrick reports, “Most of Running Springs west of Highway 330 and the Knob Hill area west of Running Springs are in peril. At least a dozen homes have already burned. The fire has moved south of Highway 18 and possibly south of Highway 330. Winds are gusting heavily in Running Springs, probably 50 miles per hour.”
The Grass Valley Fire area does not look as threatening at this time, but the Slide Fire seems to have taken off, due to heavy winds in that area, which are blowing toward San Bernardino and Heaps Peak.

Donations Being Accepted for Firefighters

Once again, our Great American City is rallying to coordinate efforts to deliver supplies to firefighters. Per official sources, the following are those items requested by firefighting personnel: sodas and water, dry coffee, Visine, chapstick with sunscreen, healthy snacks and pocket fruit. These are the items specifically requested as (unlike during the Butler #2 Fire) coats and blankets and homemade goods are not being asked for at this time. Today's drop-off point for donations is the First Baptist Church on Big Bear Boulevard, across from Summit Plaza, in Big Bear Lake. Please, if you plan to donate, bring your items for firefighters by 3:30pm today, so that those items can be delivered this evening. Thank you, Big Bear Valley, for your help in supporting our firefighters.

Pet Evacuation Information
Those with pets in fire evacuation areas are advised to take animals with them, per Brian Cronin of the San Bernardino County Public Health Department. “Even if the evacuation order is voluntary, please do not wait,” Cronin urges. “Evacuate as early as possible with your pets.” If temporary housing arrangements are not available, the county is offering evacuation sites for pets. Companion animals, such as dogs and cats, are welcome at the Orange Show Fairgrounds in San Bernardino (on Arrowhead Avenue, just south of Mill Street, at Gate 8). Large animals and livestock can be taken to the animal shelter established at the Victorville Fairgrounds, at 14800 7th Street in Victorville (phone 760/951-2200). For more information, you may call Animal Care and Control at 800/472-5609.

A Map of the Slide Fire burn area
, as of Tuesday morning. For news on the Grass Valley and Slide Fires, please scroll down.



Map of the Grass Valley Fire burn area, as of Tuesday morning:



Neighboring Mountain Communities Lose 138 Structures in Grass Valley and Slide Fires

The fires in the San Bernardino mountains continue to burn in communities west of Big Bear, with the U.S. Forest Service reporting loss of homes for our neighbors in the Slide Fire and Grass Valley Fire. Still, there is no immediate threat to the Big Bear Valley.
The Slide Fire, which began in the Green Valley Lake area, yesterday morning at approximately 8am, has burned 1500 acres. Mandatory evacuations are in place for residents of Green Valley Lake, Arrowbear and Running Springs. As of this morning, confirmed reports indicate that 25 homes have burned, with the fire behavior being labeled as "extreme." Incident Command on the Slide Fire is under the direction of San Bernardino National Forest Battalion Chief Betty Ashe, who is generally stationed in the Big Bear area and oversees the Mojave Greens from the Big Bear Ranger Station.
The Grass Valley Fire, the first to have been reported yesterday, at 5:08am, continues to burn in areas in and around Grass Valley and Lake Arrowhead. To date, the fire burn zone has remained at 300 acres and Grass Valley Fire is labeled as "severe." According to the U.S. Forest Service, 113 structures have been lost, and mandatory evacuations remain in place for all areas north of Highway 189 and North of Lake Arrowhead Dam on Highway 173. Mandatory evacuations for the Grass Valley Fire also include Twin Peaks, Crestline, Lake Gregory and Rimforest. Division Chief Randy Clauson with the U.S. Forest Service, who has at times led Incident Command on the Butler #2 Fire, is overseeing fire suppression efforts on the Grass Valley Fire.
When we spoke with Sergeant Jim Bergendahl of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, who is stationed in Big Bear but also a resident of the affected burn areas, yesterday, he said it has been difficult to obtain correct burned acreage tallies due to the heavy smoke.
In a statement from CalTrans, the following roads do remain closed: Highway 18 (down the front way), Highway 330, and portions of the 215 freeway. The 215 is closed from Interstate 15 to University Parkway, and the eastbound 210 is closed at Interstate 15.
The County of San Bernardino, which has issued a state of local emergency, has imposed curfews in all evacuated areas. This curfew is in effect from sundown to sunrise.
All schools in the Rim of the World School District will remain closed today and tomorrow, but this closure does not affect students of Bear Valley Unified School District.
Governor Schwarzenegger continues to deploy emergency crews to burn areas in Southern California. In a statement, the Governor said, “My administration is working closely with federal and local officials and will continue to assess what is needed to fight the fires in Southern California. Make no mistake about it: we will mobilize every resource necessary to protect lives and property affected by this disaster.” He further added the importance of following evacuation orders when issued: “I commend those individuals who have acted quickly to evacuate from dangerous areas and urge everyone to continue to follow the directions and evacuation orders issued by emergency personnel.”
We will continue to keep you updated on the fires burning in the neighborhoods west of the Big Bear Valley but, again, there is no immediate threat to the Big Bear area at this time. Stay tuned to 93.3 FM for updated information as it becomes available.

October 22, 2007


A Green Valley Lake resident tries to help neighbors, whose homes were closer to the blaze than his own.

Fires West of Big Bear Valley -- Update as of Tuesday 7am
The Grass Valley Fire has burned approximately 300 acres in the area northwest of Lake Arrowhead and 113 structures have burned. The Slide Fire, in the vicinity of Green Valley Lake has burned 1500 acres and 16 homes that have burned and/or been completely lost. Highway 18 and Highway 330 remain closed to all traffic, except for those evacuating.

Three Fires Burning West of Big Bear Valley -- Update as of 5pm
As of this afternoon, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department reiterates that the fires burning west of Big Bear Valley do not pose a threat at this time. According to Sergeant Jim Bergendahl at the Big Bear Station, earlier this afternoon, “We are not concerned about a threat to the Big Bear area at this time. We will be monitoring wind conditions over night.”
The Grass Valley Fire has burned approximately 300 acres in the area northwest of Lake Arrowhead, since being reported at 5:08am this morning. So far, we have unconfirmed reports of 12 burned structures in the Grass Valley Fire.
The Slide Fire, which has been burning in the vicinity of Green Valley Lake, particularly along that ridgeline, has also burned a reported 300 acres as of this afternoon. Sergeant Bergendahl (who, following a conversation with KBHR was going to evacuate his own home, which is in the area of the Slide Fire) tells us that accurate reads on burned acreage have been difficult to obtain due to the heavy smoke. As for the Slide Fire, we have reports of at least 16 homes that have burned and/or been completely lost due to the blaze. This fire has been very spotty, according to our eyewitness reports, and the Slide Fire blaze has been heading west, away from Big Bear.
A third, unnamed fire, was also reported today, and is burning in the vicinity of yesterday's small fire, off Bear Springs Road and Highway 18.
Mandatory evacuations are in place for the following: Green Valley Lake, North Lake Arrowhead, South Lake Arrowhead, Arrowbear, Running Springs and, as of this afternoon, portions of Twin Peaks. There are voluntary evacuations in place for Rimforest and other areas of Twin Peaks.
All schools in the Rim of the World School District, under the direction of interim Superintendent Ron Peavy, will be closed both Tuesday and Wednesday. This school closure does not affect students of the Bear Valley Unified School District.
At a press conference in Malibu today, Governor Schwarzenegger said, “I've proclaimed a state of emergency in seven counties, and CalFire officials are using whatever resources they need in order to put out those fires.  I urge everyone to follow the directions and evacuation orders issued by the emergency personnel.”
All highways west of the Big Bear Dam are closed to all traffic, except for those evacuating. A CalTrans official tells us that southbound highways from the burn area have been in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Again Highways 18 and 330, and all those west of the Dam are closed-–access is only allowed to those who are evacuating the Slide and Grass Valley Fires.
The U.S. Post Office has closed seven Post Offices in San Bernardino County today, due to fire evacuations, no access or power failure. Updated contingency plans for mail delivery and conditions will be reevaluated tomorrow morning, for those who receive mail from Post Offices in Green Valley, Running Springs, Arrowbear, Twin Peaks, Cedar Glen, Rimforest and Spring Valley Lake, near Victorville.
So, to recap, there are three fires burning west of the Big Bear Valley, though officials tells us that there is no threat to the Big Bear at this time. All highways west of the Big Bear Dam, including 18 and 330, will remain closed to all traffic.
And, here in Big Bear, all are welcome to join the First Baptist Church at 6:30pm this evening. The Church, located across the street from Summit Plaza, will be offering up a group prayer for emergency personnel, families affected by today's fires, and for the safety of our Valley.











On the scene of the Slide Fire: Structures are burning on Holcomb Creek Road, in the Green Valley Lake area.

Grass Valley and Slide Fire Update as of 3pm -- No Threat to Big Bear at This Time

There are two fires burning to the west of the Big Bear Valley, though there is no imminent threat to our area at this time.
Just after 5am this morning, a fire in the Grass Valley area was reported and has burned 200 acres in the area northwest of Lake Arrowhead. We have unconfirmed reports that 12 structures have burned in the Grass Valley Fire.
As of 8am this morning, a second fire, referred to as the Slide Fire, is burning along the ridgeline above Green Valley Lake, in the vicinity of Forest Service Road 2N13. The Slide Fire has burned over 200 acres, and there are confirmed reports of at least 16 homes that have been lost and/or burnt in this blaze. This fire has been very spotty, according to our eyewitness reports, and the Slide Fire blaze has been heading west, away from Big Bear.
Mandatory evacuations are in place for the following: Green Valley Lake and North Lake Arrowhead, including Deer Lodge Park and residences on Edgecliff Drive, South Lake Arrowhead, Arrowbear and Running Springs. There are voluntary evacuations in place for Rim Forest and Twin Peaks, though we have been unable to confirm if these evacuations have been upgraded to mandatory.
All schools in the Rim of the World School District, under the direction of interim Superintendent Ron Peavy, will be closed both Tuesday and Wednesday. This school closure does not affect students of the Bear Valley Unified School District.
Per the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, the county has been implementing the Telephone Emergency Notification Systems, or reverse 911, to alert residents in the fire area, though reports indicate that phone and power lines are down, which will affect service of the TENS system.
At a press conference in Malibu today, Governor Schwarzenegger said, “I've proclaimed a state of emergency in seven counties, and CalFire officials are using whatever resources they need in order to put out those fires.  I urge everyone to follow the directions and evacuation orders issued by the emergency personnel.”
All highways west of the Big Bear Dam are closed to all traffic, except for those evacuating. A CalTrans official tells us that southbound highways from the burn area have been in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Again Highways 18 and 330, and all those west of the Dam are closed – access is only allowed to those who are evacuating the Slide and Grass Valley Fires.
Incident Command has been stationed at the middle school in the Grass Valley Lake area, but will be moving to Rim of the World High School, which is closed today.
Again, the Grass Valley Fire and the Slide Fire have both burned at least 200 acres each, and we do have confirmed reports of structure loss. Still, there is no imminent threat to the Big Bear Valley at this time.


Photo from the Slide Fire, which was reported at approximately 8am this morning.

Grass Valley and Slide Fires Update, as of noon

There are two fires burning, one in the Grass Valley area, and another in the Green Valley Lake area.
Just after 5am this morning, a fire in the Grass Valley area was reported and has burned 200 acres in the area northwest of Lake Arrowhead. We have unconfirmed reports that 12 structures have burned in the Grass Valley Fire.
As of 8am this morning, a second fire, referred to as the Slide Fire, is burning along the ridgeline above Green Valley Lake, in the vicinity of Forest Service Road 2N13. The Slide Fire has burned over 200 acres, and there are also reports of structure loss in this blaze.
Mandatory evacuations are in place for the following: Green Valley Lake and North Lake Arrowhead, including Deer Lodge Park and residences on Edgecliff Drive, South Lake Arrowhead, Arrowbear and Running Springs. There are voluntary evacuations now in place for Rim Forest and Twin Peaks.
John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service has told us that there is no threat to Big Bear at this time.
Per the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, the county is implementing the Telephone Emergency Notification Systems, or reverse 911, to alert residents in this area, though we have reports that some power lines may be down, which may affect service.
All highways west of the Big Bear Dam are closed to all traffic, except for those evacuating. A CalTrans official tells us that southbound highways from the burn area are in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Again Highways 18 and 330, and all those west of the Dam are closed – access is only allowed to those who are evacuating the Slide and Grass Valley Fires.
Incident Command has been stationed at the middle school in the Grass Valley Lake area, but will eventually be moving to Rim of the World High School, which is closed today.


A view of the Slide Fire, near Green Valley Lake, this morning.

Grass Valley and Slide Fires Both Burning 200 Acres; No Threat to Big Bear at This Time

The U.S. Forest Service reports that this morning's Grass Valley Fire (northwest of the Lake Arrowhead area), which was first reported at 5am this morning, has burned 200 acres, and some structures have been lost to the blaze.
The Slide Fire in the Green Valley Lake area, which was reported at 8am today, has burned over 200 acres, as of 10:35am this morning. There are also confirmed reports of structure loss in this area, though no official count at this time.
“There is no threat to the Big Bear area,” according to John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service, as of 10:35am.
All highways west of the Big Bear Dam, including Highway 18 and Highway 330, are closed to all traffic.

Mandatory Evacuations Ordered for Arrowbear and Running Springs

Mandatory evacuations have been added for residents of Arrowbear and Running Springs, as of approximately 9:35am. Other mandatory evacuation orders had already been in place for those in Green Valley Lake and North Lake Arrowhead, including Deer Lodge Park and Edgecliff Drive. Voluntary evacuations are in place for South Lake Arrowhead and Cedar Glen, per the Sheriff's Department.

Highway 18 Is Closed Down the Front Way
, Due to Green Valley and Grass Valley Fires
As of 9:45am, Highway 18, down the front way, is closed to traffic in both directions. Only those under evacuation orders will be allowed upbound access, with proof of residency.


Evacuations and Road Closures Update as of 9:30am
There are now two fires burning in the Lake Arrowhead area. Just after 5am this morning, a fire in the Grass Valley area was reported and has burned approximately 75 acres in winds that have reportedly been blowing up to 60 miles per hour.
As of 8am, there is a second fire, now referred to as the Slide Fire, which is burning in the vicinity of Green Valley Lake, off Forest Service Road 2N13.
There are now mandatory evacuations in place for Green Valley Lake and North Lake Arrowhead, including Deer Lodge Park and residences on Edgecliff Road. All schools in the Rim of the World School District are closed today, per Superintendent Ron Peavy.
Voluntary evacuations are now in place for residents of Arrowbear and Running Springs. Per the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, the county is implementing the Telephone Emergency Notification Systems, or "reverse 911", to alert residents in this area.
All state highways west of the Big Bear Dam are closed to upbound traffic. Those traveling into Big Bear will need to use Highway 38 or Highway 18 through Lucerne Valley.
Highway 15 is closed to trucks and high profile vehicles at this time, southbound from the 215 to the 10, due to winds.
The southbound 15 connectors to the I-10, east and west, are closed due to a truck over the connector.

Two Fires Burning in Lake Arrowhead Area; Evacuations and Road Closures in Place

We have confirmed reports of fires burning in the vicinity of the Lake Arrowhead area. Just after 5am, a fire in the Grass Valley area was reported and has burned approximately 75 acres in winds that have reportedly been blowing up to 60 miles per hour. As of 8am, there is a second fire, now referred to as the Slide Fire, which is burning in the vicinity of Green Valley Lake, off Forest Service Road 2N13. There are now mandatory evacuations in place for Green Valley Lake and North Lake Arrowhead. All schools in the Rim of the World School District are closed today, per Superintendent Ron Peavy. All state highways west of the Big Bear Dam are closed to upbound traffic. Those traveling into Big Bear will need to use Highway 38 or Highway 18 through Lucerne Valley.

Starts morning of October 22, 2007

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