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San Bernardino County continues to clear roads and get supplies to residents homebound by storm

San Bernardino County continues to clear roads and get supplies to residents homebound by storm
San Bernardino County continues to clear roads and get supplies to residents homebound by storm 03:16

San Bernardino County continues fighting storm conditions, with Monday's declared state of emergency escalating as more snow continues to fall into Wednesday morning. 

Thursday, families in Crestline finally received supplies after more than a week of being stuck.

"I don't know how I can be more grateful to them for getting us out," said Miriam Magana. "We are so ecstatic. We are so happy the family is back home. We were so nervous." 

Magana's brother-in-law came to her AirBnB with chains and a Caltrans-approved commercial utility tractor to save the family. He had the heavy machinery from his landscaping business. 

"I helped whoever I could along the way to open up a path for them," said Raul Magana. He said he pulled cars out of snow, chopped down branches, and paved driveways for others. 

The California National Guard arrived to help with the disaster relief effort underway in the San Bernardino mountains Thursday, focusing on areas where thousands of residents have been trapped inside their homes like Crestline, Lake Arrowhead, and Big Bear. 

In a statement released Thursday, the City of Big Bear Lake said in part: 

As of today, most parts of the City have received four feet or greater of snowfall...As the City is still under snow conditions, parking on all Big Bear Lake streets is prohibited. Homeowners and hosts must ensure driveways and berms are cleared before visiting, noting that snow removal services are currently overwhelmed. 

City officials said updates related to weather events will be on the city's social media pages (Facebook/Instagram: @cityofbigbearlake and Twitter: @CityofBBL). 

County officials at a news conference Wednesday said the emphasis is clearing snow from the roads so they are drivable, thereby getting essentials, groceries, medical supplies, and gas to residents in the mountain areas who are homebound due to the snow.  

The California Highway Patrol suspended escorts for drivers heading up Highway 18 en route to mountain communities due to fog and snow Wednesday morning. Highway 18 access has been suspended multiple times over the course of the latest winter storm.

A roadblock remained in place on California State Route 18 in San Bernardino Wednesday morning, but CHP and Caltrans were helping mountain community residents return home Tuesday evening, checking IDs and running escorts up Highway 18. Officials Wednesday morning said the escorts will resume once the roads are safe.

"As the roads start to open, there's a lot of people that want to go visit the snow. This is the wrong time to do that," said San Bernardino County Fire Department Chief Dan Munsey at Wednesday's news conference. "If we have a large amount of people try to visit our mountains communities, number one, they're not going to find a place to park. Number two, they're going to find out that conditions are very extreme. Number three, they're going to hamper with our emergency cleanup and recovery effort."

Officials reported that over 100 rescues have been staged in the mountains since this storm began and residents in the mountain communities are reporting 7 feet of snow with worries of roof collapse as the snow continues to pile up. 

Snowplows, grocery trucks, and other trucks with essential supplies attempt to make their way up State Route 18. Road access has been spotty over the past several days, with some residents sitting and waiting for hours — others for several days — as the snowstorm blocked roadways in and out of the area. 

MORE: Big Bear 'critically low' on food and fuel after severe storm traps residents

"We're just out here on our own and usually by now, plows have come by," said Crestline resident Dan. "It just seems like we're being forgotten about."

Dan was trapped in the mountains with his newborn and wife. The family said they were running out of baby formula and were in dire straits, with no estimate on when the roads will be back open. 

"We're kind of up the creek right now," said Dan. 

Big Bear resident Cat Corliss and other drivers were stranded in the mountain town, running on empty tanks and striking out on finding fuel. One driver said she went to three gas stations and had no luck. 

"Letting you know there is absolutely no gas to be found up here," said Corliss. 

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