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Sheep fire balloons past 900 acres, prompting evacuations

June 13, 2022 Updated Mon., June 13, 2022 at 12:13 p.m.

The Sheep fire in Angeles National Forest was burning more than 930 acres Monday, authorities say.    (Dreamstime/TNS)
The Sheep fire in Angeles National Forest was burning more than 930 acres Monday, authorities say.   (Dreamstime/TNS)
By Hayley Smith Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — A wildfire burning in the Angeles National Forest swelled to 939 acres Monday, prompting evacuations in San Bernardino County.

The blaze, dubbed the Sheep fire, sparked Saturday evening near Wrightwood in heavy dried vegetation, according to forest service officials. By Sunday night, it had spread to 775 acres and was burning toward Desert Front Road.

It was 5% contained Monday morning, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department has issued evacuation orders for areas near the fire, including Highway 2 south to Lone Pine Canyon Road; Wright Mountain Road to Sheep Creek Drive; Desert Front Road and Wild Horse Canyon; and Highway 138 to Sand Canyon.

The rest of the community of Wrightwood was under an evacuation warning, officials said. An evacuation center has been set up at Serrano High School in Phelan.

The fire ignited only days after Southern California fire officials warned residents that drought and extreme heat were creating conditions for a potentially treacherous fire season this year. A triple-digit heat wave blanketed much of California this weekend.

“Given the fuel conditions, the fire conditions that we’re here talking about, I foresee a very tough four, five, six months in front of us,” Orange County Fire Authority Chief Brian Fennessy said Thursday.

Vegetation in some parts of the region is 40% drier than normal for the date, officials said.

News video of the Sheep fire showed intense fire activity, including towering flame lengths and thick clouds of swirling smoke as it ripped through dried brush.

Crews on Monday were in for a potentially challenging firefight as winds of up to 25 mph were expected in the area throughout the day, according to Adam Roser, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in San Diego.

“We’re going to have another windier day up there today as the trough moves through,” Roser said. Temperatures will be in the 70s and humidity levels around 20%.

More than 200 personnel were assigned to the blaze, according to the forest service.

Meanwhile, crews on Monday were making progress on another fire that ignited over the weekend, the Fish fire near Duarte. That blaze ignited Sunday at Brookridge and Mel Canyon roads.

By Monday morning, it was holding at about 35 acres and was 18% contained, officials said. No structures were threatened and no evacuation orders had been issued.

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