Forest Service + Helicopter Crew Work Lightning-Sparked Fire Near Forest Falls

A lightning strike ignited dead trees in the San Gorgonio Wilderness and it was reported at 5:36 p.m. Saturday, a Forest Service spokeswoman said. Firefighters walked in this morning and a helicopter crew was making drops.

Firefighters and a helicopter crew were assigned Sunday to a lightning-strike fire in the San Gorgonio Wilderness above Forest Falls, a Forest Service spokeswoman said.

The Vivian Fire, in Mill Creek Canyon northeast of Redlands, was one of more than 20 lightning-strike fires reported in the San Bernardino National Forest since Thursday Aug. 9, Carol Underhill of the Forest Service said.

A volunteer in the entry booth at Falls Picnic Area at the end of Valley of the Falls Drive said a hand crew walked up to the Vivian Fire before 9 a.m. Sunday, Redlands resident Al Kelley said.

A crew in Helicopter 535 was making drops on the Vivian Fire, Underhill said.

In the midst of the recent humid heat wave, afternoon have spawned lightning, sparked fires, and unleashed brief spells of intense rain causing rockfall and erosion noticed near Highway 38 and other mountain roads.

A dozen were reported Thursday in the San Bernardino National Forest, 11 of them in the vicinity of Angelus Oaks and one near Anza, according to the Forest Service. One was reported Saturday, in the Stockton Flats area in Lytle Creek Canyon.

Seven more lightning-strike fires were reported Saturday, near Seven Oaks, Forsee Creek, and Angelus Oaks, in Mill Creek Canyon near Momyer Creek and Vivian Creek, and near San Sevaine Road in the Lytle Creek area.

On Sunday, two fires were reported and considered sparked by lightning.

At 8:23 a.m. Aug. 12, one fire was reported in the Pinyon area of the Santa Rosa Mountains, and at 9:58 a.m. another fire was reported near Telegraph Peak in the Cucamonga Wilderness.

The San Bernardino National Forest covers more than 1,000 square miles in four distinct mountain ranges in two Southern California counties. Some portions are designated wilderness areas.

Firefighters try to fight fires without mechanized equipment such as chainsaws and bulldozers in federal designated wilderness areas, Underhill said. There is no restriction on using aircraft, and the Forest Supervisor can grant permission to use chainsaws and bulldozers if necessary, Underhill said.

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