Redlands and Loma Linda firefighters were among more than 450 personnel who responded Monday to a 350-acre fire in the Cajon Pass north of Devore, in hot, dry, breezy conditions that fed the blaze and forced closure of Interstate 15 for about six hours.
As of 6 p.m. Nov. 5 the fire was considered 5 percent contained and many crews were expected to work the fire overnight, Carol Underhill of the San Bernardino National Forest said in a phone interview.
Full containment was expected by 6 p.m. Tuesday Nov. 6.
The fire was reported just before 11 a.m. Monday north of the Kenwood Avenue exit, and smoke and ash from the head of the blaze drifted rapidly southwest along the foothills of the east San Gabriel Mountains, north of Rialto, Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga and Upland.
Hundreds of thousands of residents in the area could see evidence of the so-called Devore Fire throughout the afternoon, as well as aircraft sent to attack the hottest areas on both sides of the 15, which has a minimum five lanes in each direction in the fire area.
By 3 p.m. Cal Fire and Sheriff's Department investigators were setting out colored flags near a possible point of origin for the fire on the north side of the freeway, near some temporary work buildings that burned in the fire.
As of that time no civilian or firefighter injuries had been reported, Superintendent Jim Tomaselli with the Forest Service Del Rosa Hotshots, operations section chief on the fire, said near the investigation scene.
Crews from as far away as Modoc National Forest worked on both sides of the 15, some high on blackened ridges and others deep in smoking draws. Forest Service bulldozer drivers worked with ground crews where access was possible.
San Bernardino County Fire crews joined Forest Service, Redlands, Loma Linda, Fontana and other local agency crews in efforts to put out the fire.
California Highway Patrol officers kept the 15 closed in both directions in part because the blaze jumped the freeway in sections, scorching brush in strips of the median.
Caltrans crews laid out cones to keep lanes closed on both sides of the freeway by 4 p.m. and there were plans to re-open to vital freeway artery between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., according to Caltrans, the CHP and the Forest Service.