California Wildfires

Firefighters Gain Ground on Fire Near Big Bear Ahead of Strong Winds

A tropical storm churning up the Baja California coast will bring rain, but also strong winds that could fan Southern California's wildfires.

A firefighter is pictured in the Radford Fire zone near Big Bear.

Firefighters are increasing containment of a brush fire near Big Bear ahead of strong wind gusts expected to raise the threat of rapidly spreading fires.

The 1,000-acre Radford Fire was nearly 60-percent contained Friday afternoon. Fueled by brush and heavy timber, the fire started Monday in the San Bernardino County mountains east of Los Angeles between Big Bear and Seven Oaks.

All evacuation orders were downgraded Thursday to evacuation warnings. Those areas included the following:

• Glass Rd to South Fork River Rd
• Beverly Lane south to 2N10 and 2N08 west to Castlerock
• Summit Blvd east to Club View and Evergreen Dr south
• Club View east to Angels Camp Rd and Vine Ave south to Lassen Dr
• Summit Blvd east to McAllister Rd, east of Hwy 18, and Fox Farm Rd south to Evergreen Rd

State Route 38 reopened Thursday, but authorities warned drivers to expect potentially difficult driving conditions due to the remnants of Hurricane Kay, which weakened to a tropical storm as it moved north along the Baja California coast.

"Kay has weakened to a tropical storm and will continue to weaken as it tracks off the Baja coast before turning west off of northern Baja by Friday night," according to U.S. Forest Service statement. "While Kay stays to the southwest of SoCal, impacts will be felt."

Those impacts included winds increasing into Friday evening with 80 mph gusts possible over mountain tops. Most of the rain is expected overnight into Saturday.

"Fire danger will be present before rain onset and any wildfires would be fast spreading due to the strong east winds," the Forest Service said. "Rainfall by afternoon will then mitigate the fire weather threat as we turn to flash flooding potential in heavier rain bands which looks to focus over the deserts and mountains, especially east facing slopes."

A Forest Closure Order is in effect for areas surrounding the Radford Fire.

In Riverside County, the deadly 27,400-acre Fairview Fire is only 5-percent contained. It is the largest wildfire this year in California.

Two people identified by family as a father and daughter were killed as they tried to escape the flames.

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