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Santa Ana Winds Pose Threat To Firefighters Battling Pyrotechnic-Sparked El Dorado Blaze, Evacuations Still In Place

YUCAIPA (CBSLA) – Fire crews Tuesday continued to gain ground on the pyrotechnic-sparked El Dorado Fire burning in Yucaipa, which has destroyed several homes and forced an estimated 21,000 people to evacuate.

The El Dorado Fire was 10,574 acres as of 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, with containment jumping from 7% to 16% from Monday to Tuesday, the U.S. Forest Service reports.

Homes Destroyed, Evacuations Remain For El Dorado Fire Sparked By Pyrotechnics
The El Dorado Fire burns in Yucaipa, Calif., on Sept. 7, 2020. (CBSLA)

Crews spent Monday putting containment lines around the Mountain Home Village community, successfully protecting homes there after flames had raced down Yucaipa Ridge in the San Bernardino National Forest and towards the neighborhood Sunday.

However, despite the progress a red flag warning is in effect from noon Tuesday through 8 p.m. Wednesday due to Santa Ana winds which could flare up the fire and force even more evacuations.

"Red Flag Warnings are in effect from mid-day Tuesday through Wednesday evening, which could prompt an expansion of the evacuation orders further south and west of current evacuation areas," USFS wrote on its incident information page.

The fire broke out at about 10:30 a.m. Saturday at El Dorado Ranch Park in the 37000 block of Oak Glen Road. It was started by a smoke-generating pyrotechnic device at a gender reveal party, according to the CAL Fire San Bernardino Unit. On Monday, CAL Fire officials elaborated that a family was taking part some kind of a gender reveal photo in the park, using pyrotechnics. They said one of the family members stayed behind and tried to extinguish the fire.

Family members could face charges including use of pyrotechnics and recklessly causing a fire, although officials emphasized that the investigation is ongoing. They could also be held responsible for costs associated with battling the fire and the damage caused by it.

Mandatory evacuation orders are in place for the communities of Oak Glen, Yucaipa Ridge, Mountain Home Village and Forest Falls, according to CAL Fire. An evacuation warning is in effect for the Yucaipa Bench area, as well as from Oak Glen Road to Highway 38, west of Bryant St. to Garnet Ave.

A Red Cross evacuation center is in place at the Redlands East Valley High School.

About 650 firefighters from multiple agencies are battling the flames with the help of several water-dropping helicopters.

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