On Saturday, Aug. 29, at 2:19 p.m., San Bernardino County Fire crews were dispatched to a reported structure fire in the 23800 block of Zurich Drive in Crestline.
Due to the proximity to the State Responsibility Area (SRA) and the San Bernardino National Forest, a full response from Cal Fire and the U.S. Forest Service was also started, including aircraft.
ME25 from County Fire’s Top Town Crestline station arrived on scene within six minutes to find a multi-story home well involved with extension to nearby vegetation. The fire had already spotted into receptive fuels and had burned a half-acre upon arrival.
Arriving crews worked on limiting the vegetation fire and suppressing the well-involved fire in the multi-story home. County Fire and Cal Fire created a unified command due to the vegetation fire burning in SRA lands and threatening homes.
The unified commanders coordinated the structure fire, vegetation fire, road closures and resource ordering. Arriving air attack, helicopters and air tankers went to work, prioritizing building a retardant line and suppressing the wildfire to keep it from spreading and away from structures.
Despite wind, dry fuels and high temperatures, crews managed to stop the fire just shy of 15 acres. Structures were threatened; however, firefighters kept the fire from damaging additional homes and a nearby camp.
Steve Garcia, director of Thousand Pines Christian Camp, said no buildings were burned at the camp but they did lose a large swing and some benches. About 100 campers were evacuated from the camp. When they got the all-clear, they returned to retrieve their belongings and returned to their homes.
By 4 p.m., the forward rate of spread was stopped. Cal Fire helicopters continued to work hotspots inside the fire’s interior.
Crews remained on scene throughout the evening and into the next day, working on mop up, containment lines and hotspots. At the height of the fire, more than 28 engines and 115 personnel were on scene.
Mutual aid agreements added fire units from Redlands, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Highland, Loma Linda and Yucaipa.
The fire’s cause and origin are under investigation by County Fire and Cal Fire investigators. The home was severely damaged by the fire and is uninhabitable. The American Red Cross was requested to assist the displaced occupants.