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U.S. Forest Service officials say a firefighter has died while battling the El Dorado Fire.
The victim, reportedly a member of a “hotshot” team working in the Pinezanita area, went missing Thursday, prompting a search by law enforcement and firefighters.
Officials have not yet released the name of the firefighter pending notification of family. The cause of death is under investigation and officials say more details will be made available as they work to confirm what happened.
USDA Forest Service officials on the San Bernardino National Forest have confirmed the death of a firefighter on the #ElDoradoFire. The incident took place on Thursday, September 17, 2020. The name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. pic.twitter.com/61XX1SBpmH
— San Bernardino National Forest (@SanBernardinoNF) September 18, 2020
The wildfire continues to burn in the San Bernardino National Forest, forcing thousands of residents to flee their homes in mountain communities.
Here’s what we know about the blaze so far today:
- Acreage: 21,678
- Containment: 66%
- Structures destroyed: 4 homes, 6 other structures
- Structures damaged: 2 homes, 4 other structures
- Residences evacuated: 3,467
- Structures threatened: 26,031
- Personnel: 1,351 firefighters
- Deaths: one firefighter killed
- Injuries: 12
The El Dorado Fire began on Saturday, September 5, with a bang — literally — when a firework from a gender reveal party in Yucaipa ignited a blaze that has threatened thousands of homes and caused the mandatory evacuation of tens of thousands of residents.
Officials say fire intensity increased along Highway 38 near Angelus Oaks. The roadway was being used as a containment line and firefighters had been able to keep the blaze south of it.
Crews are also actively protecting structures from the Pinezanita area east to Jenk Lake.
The fire has reached the burn scar of the 2015 Lake Fire but continues to advance north, fueled by upcanyon winds and aided by topography in the mountains.
Officials also report “spotting” about half a mile in front of the main body, meaning spot fires are igniting outside the fire perimeter. That distance has the potential to increase to about a mile later today, officials said.
Forest officials also had a message for residents who might be alarmed by what they’re seeing north of Highway 38 on satellite imagery available online through Modis.
Modis is an instrument aboard the Terra and Aqua EOS Satellites and measure thermal and infrared detections. This can create confusion as anything emitting heat registers in Modis, including smoke AND fire-fighting equipment. What communities are perceiving as spot fires across Hwy 38 is likely smoke or equipment operating in the area. As of this…
Read More: First Structure Claimed By The Flames; New Evacuation Orders