About three acres burning in a heavily treed area of Holcomb Valley in the afternoon Aug. 9, the start of what has been a relatively calm summer fire season thus far.
The fire was reported just before 1:30 p.m. near Bertha Peak. Firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service, Big Bear City, Big Bear Lake, San Bernardino County, the Bureau of Land Management, Arrowbear Lake and CalFire departments were battling the blaze. Air support included four helicopters and two air tankers, according to John Miller of the Forest Service.
The fire was reported west of the Holcomb Valley Scout Ranch. Forest Service Road 3N12 was closed to allow access for equipment.
The fire was smaller than originally thought, Miller said. However, it burned timber that was between 130 and 150 years old, he said. There was a lot of dead vegetation and snags in the area.
Miller said the fire was 50 percent contained as of 5 p.m. with full containment expected by 10 p.m. Aug. 9. Full control wasn’t expected for several days, Miller said.
The cause is under investigation.
It’s the time of year that fire crews watch what is happening at the lower elevations for indicators of the fire season, Miller said. In the past couple of weeks the Forest Service has battled two fires in the Silverwood Lake areas caused by illegal fireworks. Fireworks are not allowed in the National Forest, ever, Miller stressed. Anyone who witnesses use of fireworks is urged to dial 9-1-1.
Big Bear City Fire Chief Jeff Willis said a couple of weeks ago his crews were training for the vegetation fire season. He said the Valley has been lucky in recent years to have been spared from major incidents that have touched the mountain communities to the west. Preparation is key, he said.
Property owners and residents are advised to create defensible space around their homes as the first line of defense.