Evacuations Lifted in Southern California Blue Cut Wildfire | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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Evacuations Lifted in Southern California Blue Cut Wildfire

The evacuation orders were lifted at 4 p.m. Sunday



    Crews made huge advances against the Blue Cut Fire Saturday, as containment rose to 68 percent. The blaze had destroyed 96 homes as of Saturday, August 20, 2016.

    The evacuation orders for the communities affected by the Blue Cut Fire were lifted Sunday afternoon, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff. 

    Residents who live in the Wrightwood, Swarthout Canyon, Lone Pine Canyon, West Cajon Valley and Lytle Creek areas were allowed to return home at 4 p.m., although some residents may find their homes without electricity. 

    At least a thousand Wrightwood residents were allowed home by noon on Saturday as crews made huge gains against a massive wildfire in Southern California.

    At least 105 homes were destroyed in the so-called Blue Cut Fire.

    The blaze was 89 percent contained as of Monday morning. 

    The majority of those evacuated were allowed to return Friday evening. At the height of the fire, some 82,000 people were under evacuation orders.

    A preliminary assessment found 96 homes and 213 outbuildings were destroyed by the blaze, most of them in its first fierce days on Tuesday and Wednesday.

    More damage might still be discovered as firefighters pore through the aftermath of the fire that had burned 58 square miles about 60 miles east of Los Angeles in San Bernardino County.

    The I-15 is open in both directions through the Cajon Pass. There may be delays due to intermittent lane closures to make repairs.


    • Highway 138 is open to residents only from Highway 2 to Stone Basin Rd.
    • Highway 138 at Stone Basin to I-15 is closed to allow emergency equipment in the area to replace power poles affected by the fire.
    • Lone Pine Canyon Road at Swarthout Canyon Rd. to Highway 138 is closed.
    • US Forest Road 3N31 at Lone Pine Canyon Road is closed.
    • The dirt road portion of Lytle Creek is closed from the gun range into the Forest.


    Johanna Santore was among those left homeless. She was running an errand Tuesday when the fire charged through her neighborhood. She tried to rush home to rescue the family's four dogs, six cats and hamster but was blocked by closed roads.

    A group of animal rescue volunteers found the house in smoldering ruins — with no signs of the pets.

    "I'm actually feeling numb," said Santore, who fled with her husband and granddaughter to an evacuation center. "It's like a nightmare."

    A prolonged drought has transformed swaths of California into tinderboxes, ready to ignite. Several other wildfires were burning in the state, including a blaze in rural Santa Barbara County that prompted the evacuation of a pair of campgrounds.

    In the southern Sierra Nevada, another blaze feeding on dense timber in Sequoia National Forest forced the evacuation of several tiny hamlets.

    Another blaze burned in Santa Barbara County and forced the evacuation of a pair of campgrounds during the height of the summer season.

    In mountains north of San Francisco, a 6-square-mile blaze was 80 percent contained after destroying 300 structures, including 189 homes and eight businesses, in the working-class community of Lower Lake. All evacuation orders have been canceled.

    No deaths have been reported in the fire east of Los Angeles and the cause of the fire was under investigation. Crews continued to sift through burned regions to tally the damage.

    The Santores weren't as lucky. Volunteers who drove to their house found a moonscape. Some of the neighbors' homes were still standing, seemingly intact.

    Before the fire roared through, Johanna Santore had redecorated her granddaughter's room in a zebra pattern and added a loft bed.

    "We don't plan on rebuilding," she said. "We plan on leaving."

    The Associated Press contributed to this article.

    Wrightwood, Swarthout Canyon, Lone Pine Canyon, West Cajon Valley and Lytle Creek