Redlands firefighters responded to a vegetation fire in the Santa Ana River wash near Orange Street Monday, in the same area as another recent fire.
The fire, dubbed the Orange Fire 2, had burned approximately 23 acres as of 5:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26, and briefly threatened homes in the area of Riverview Drive.
Firefighters, responding at about noon to reports of a brush fire in the area of Orange Street and the Santa Ana River Wash observed a large column of smoke and requested additional resources from the San Bernardino Unit of Cal Fire, the Bureau of Land Management and the city of Highland.
Additional engines from San Bernardino County Fire Department, the San Bernardino National Forest and the city of Yucaipa also responded. Air resources were requested but were unavailable due to 25-30 mph wings with gusts up 50 mph. Bulldozers were also unable to operate in the wash due to endangered habitat in the area.
Winds carried embers south of the Santa Ana River bed, briefly threatening homes along Riverview Drive before firefighters stopped the fire’s forward momentum at about 4 p.m.
Fire crews remain on scene overnight, improving fire lines and are expected to remain on scene for several more days.
In September, a fire in the same area burned about 37 acres and continued smoldering for more than a week as a result of decades-old wood product left behind, following the closure of the Big Bear Lumber Company, which operated in the area from 1953 until it was closed in 1982.
The cause of Monday’s fire is undetermined. No injuries or structure damage have been reported.
In the mountains to the east, smoke was drifting southward with the winds. A Cal Fire firefighter said it was from the El Dorado fire from last month. When high winds blow of surface ash and debris, embers deeper below can reignite, he said, causing the billows of smoke.
Monday’s gusty winds also caused power outages in Redlands, one near Hemlock Court, one near Pacific Street and one near North Sunset Drive.
The outages affected 2,090 residents, according to Southern California Edison.