Controlled Burn in San Bernardino County Spirals Out of Control

Mandatory evacuations were lifted overnight in a San Bernardino County community after a brush fire that started as a controlled burn spiraled out of control.

The Los Angeles County Parks Department had been issued a permit to start the fire to clear cattails in the Mojave Narrows, however strong winds soon caused it to spread uncontrollably after it was lit just before noon Tuesday.

The brush fire in Apple Valley spread to more than 70 acres and was 30-percent contained by Wednesday morning, according to the San Bernardino County Fire Department. Residents were able evacuate to Sitting Bull Middle School. Two hundred firefighters were battling the brush fire at a dry river bottom between Victorville and Apple Valley.

Resident Bonnie Penfold, whose Humvee was destroyed by the flames, was unhappy the blaze had been started deliberately.

"I'm pretty pissed off, I could have lost everything," Penfold said.

Firefighters worked overnight to get to grips with the blaze, and it was 30 percent controlled by 11 p.m. Tuesday. Ground and air crews were attacking the fire in unison.

Seven structures had been also been threatened while a shed was destroyed.

A wood pile was set alight by a flying ember outside the home of Ermandina Quintania, who lives a quarter of a mile away from the fire itself. Luckily her neighbors helped her douse the flames. 

"I'm glad she was home... if not i don't know what (would have happened)," Quintania said.

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