Evacuation Orders Lifted for San Bernardino Homes After Old Water Fire

Firefighters were working to protect more than two dozen buildings in north San Bernardino due to the Old Water Fire

Evacuation orders were lifted Thursday night for the Old Water Fire that burned over 100 acres in the San Bernardino National Forest.

At 8 p.m. Thursday, all evacuation areas were reopened to residents with proper identification. Two hours earlier, Highway 18 and 40th Street were also reopened, according to the San Bernardino County Fire Department, which assumed command of the fight against the blaze.

Containment of the Old Water Fire was at 30% as of around 1 p.m. Thursday afternoon, according to the San Bernardino National Forest Service, which assisted in the fight.

Evacuations had been in effect for about 80 homes near Mariposa Drive and David Way, as well as Arrowhead Road. An evacuation center was still being determined during the early stages of the fire, so some evacuees -- including a family with two dogs and a chicken -- gathered at a TJ Maxx parking lot in San Bernardino

"The area behind us was flaming," Gilbert Yglesias said. "I didn't think much of it, until I took a look and saw the brush was pretty much taken over. Then police started evacuating."

The San Bernardino County Fire Department first tweeted about the Old Water Fire at 2:19 a.m. Thursday, saying it showed a rapid rate of spread. 

The blaze was moving south and northeast in the Coldwater Canyon area as of 3:52 a.m. and was showing potential for large growth, according to the Forest Service. Santa Ana winds, which have fanned many of California's worst wildfires, were picking up while the fire burned in the San Bernardino National Forest.

San Bernardino County Fire Department responded to the blaze with two dozers, multiple hand crews, four engines, and two chief officers.

At one point, a total of five departments were at work fighting the fire. The Forest Service, the San Bernardino County Fire Department and the San Bernardino Police Department were in unified command, with the CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit and the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services assisting. 

The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

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