South Fire in Fontana Scorches 680 Acres

August 26, 2021 8:18 am


The South Fire, which began burning Wednesday afternoon and quickly forced evacuations as it spread to homes in the area, has burned in Fontana overnight and into Thursday morning.

As of Thursday morning, the blaze had scorched 680 acres in San Bernardino County, according to CAL FIRE, and was 0% contained.

Four homes and 14 outbuildings have been destroyed.

Evacuations were still in place for anyone north of Glen Helen Parkway, east of Sierra Avenue and Lytle Creek Road, and west of the 15 Freeway, CAL FIRE said.

The fire began around 2 p.m. on Wednesday, and by that night had flared to 500 acres. Residents scrambled from their homes with essential belongings as flames ripped through yards. 

Fire danger comes with the territory for homeowners in the area, but this fire is different, said Tim Handman.

“How intense, it burned so fast… really hot,” he said.

Handman’s garage is gone, engulfed by the flames. Firefighters managed to save his home, along with the homes of most of the 50 to 60 people who live along the stretch of Lytle Creek Road where the fire was first located. About a dozen were either destroyed or damaged.

Oscar Verdugo, who’s lived there since 1995, was exhausted after his rental property burned to the ground.

“I was on the roof with my water hose. There was a firefighter trying to keep an eye on this, because he was like, it’s a total loss.”

Propane tanks exploded and power lines sparked as firefighters battled the fire. Llamas and livestock were also seen next to the burning blaze.

An evacuation center for large animals was established at the Devore Animal Shelter, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s office.

CAL FIRE’s San Bernardino unit and firefighters from the San Bernardino National Forest were working together Thursday morning to try and contain the fire.

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