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HILLSIDE FIRE UPDATE
OCTOBER 31, 2019
(Update) Investigators have determined the area of origin. Cause remains under investigation. There are NO power lines near the area of origin.
Firefighters were contending with up to 60 mile per hour winds as the Southland continues to get battered by Santa Ana conditions. An extreme red flag warning for most of the region remains in place through 6 p.m., with the winds expected to die down by Thursday night.
An evacuation center was opened up at Pacific High School, 1020 Pacific St., in San Bernardino. Evacuation orders were issued as the fire threatened the North Park neighborhood. Mandatory evacuations were declared in areas for all homes north of 50th Street, west of Highway 18, and east of Mayfield Avenue.
Highway 18 is shut down from Waterman Canyon and 40th Street to the SR-18/SR-138 split.
When the fire broke out, San Bernardino was under a red flag warning, signaling that weather conditions were ripe for flames igniting and spreading. For parts of Southern California (including San Bernardino), hot temperatures and low humidity, both ideal conditions for wildfires, were only made worse by the presence of the Santa Ana winds, which the National Weather Service (NWS) forecasted could reach up to 30 miles per hour.
“We’re competing for resources right now with several other fires,” Kathleen Opliger, a deputy chief of the San Bernardino County Fire Department, said at a news conference.
Homeowners in the area saw orange flames lighting up the hills around the northern edges of the city in the early morning hours, and then cascading down to threaten neighborhoods to the west of Highway 18. About 1,300 residents in 500 homes have been evacuated.
Knowing the potential wind has to fan the flames of a wildfire, officials quickly ordered people to evacuate areas that either were or could be impacted by the Hillside Fire.
California State University, San Bernardino, which was closed Wednesday due to Southern California Edison’s planned power outages, will remain closed again Thursday. The Palm Desert campus will remain open, however.
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