California Wildfires

Hesperia Fire Started by Beekeeper's Beehive Smoker Burns 95 Acres

The Hesperia Fire burned in the Silverwood Lake area north of San Bernardino.

A helicopter drops water on the Hesperia Fire.
San Bernardino County Fire Department

A brush fire that started Monday in San Bernardino County grew to nearly 100 acres after it was started by a beekeeper's beehive smoker, fire investigators said.

Water-dropping aircraft were part of the fight against the Hesperia Fire burning in the Silverwood Lake area north of San Bernardino. The fire's spread near Highway 173 was stopped late Monday with firefighters working to increase containment, which was at 50 percent.

The highway remained closed east of Highway 138.

One outbuilding was destroyed.

Fuel moisture levels are well below historic averages in parts of Southern California, meaning vegetation is drying out more quickly this year. Dry vegetation is one significant factor in the spread of wildfires.

The state is coming of one of its driest late winters on record, leaving hillsides covered in dry brush.

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California continues to face longer wildfire seasons as a direct result of climate change, according to CAL FIRE.

"Extended dryness originating from January is expected to continue into the spring with little precipitation, leaving most of the state in moderate to extreme drought conditions prior to summer," the state's firefighting agency said in a 2022 fire season outlook. "These continued dry conditions, with above normal temperatures through spring, will leave fuel moisture levels lower than normal, increasing the potential for wildland fire activity."

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