California Wildfires

Peak Fire in Mountains North of San Bernardino Started After Car Crash

The fire broke out near Highway 18 during a day of extreme heat in Southern California.

NBC Universal, Inc.

A fire in the mountains north of San Bernardino spread rapidly late Monday morning, forcing the closure of Highway 18.

The Peak Fire was reported near Old Waterman Canyon Road, just off Highway 18, which was closed from Highway 138 to 40th Street. The road reopened Monday evening.

San Bernardino County Fire announced around 5 p.m. Monday that the Peak Fire was caused by a single-car crash, when flames from the BMW quickly spread through the adjacent dry brush.

The fire burned an estimated 30 acres early Monday afternoon, but its forward spread was stopped before 2 p.m., firefighters said.

One firefighter was treated for a heat-related injury, fire officials said.

By about 6 p.m., Caltrans District 8 announced on Twitter that upbound Highway 18 would be fully open by 8 p.m. Monday. Just one lane on downbound Highway 18 would be open at the same time through at least Tuesday morning.

The fire broke out during a day of triple-digit heat in some parts of Southern California.

More than 3,270 wildfires have been reported in California this year, compared to 2,625 at this point in 2020, according to CALFIRE stats.

Fires have burned 16,450 acres in 2021. More than 19,000 acres burned through June 20, 2020. 

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