Evacuations Ordered as Brush Fire Burns in San Bernardino National Forest

Firefighters were working to protect more than two dozen buildings in north San Bernardino due to the Old Water Fire

Mandatory evacuations were ordered for a portion of north San Bernardino as a brush fire consumed about 70 acres and forced road closures early Thursday, according to the San Bernardino National Forest Service.

Evacuations were in effect for about 80 homes near Mariposa Drive and David Way, as well as Arrowhead Road. An evacuation center was still being determined during the early stages of the fire, so some evacuees -- including a family with two dogs and a chicken -- gathered at a TJ Maxx parking lot in San Bernardino

"The area behind us was flaming," Gilbert Yglesias said. "I didn't think much of it, until I took a look and saw the brush was pretty much taken over. Then police started evacuating."

Highway 18 is closed between 40th Street in San Bernardino and Highway 138 in Crestline.

Containment is currently at 0% and winds on the ridge tops were gusting at 50 mph, according to the Forest Service.

"Firefighters are making good progress around all areas of concern," according to a Forest Service tweet later Thursday morning.

The blaze was moving south and northeast in the Coldwater Canyon area as of 3:52 a.m. and was showing potential for large growth, according to the Forest Service. Santa Ana winds, which have fanned many of California's worst wildfires, were picking up while the fire burned in the San Bernardino National Forest.

The San Bernardino County Fire Department first tweeted about the Old Water Fire at 2:19 a.m., saying it showed a rapid rate of spread.

San Bernardino County Fire Department responded to the blaze with two dozers, multiple hand crews, four engines, and two chief officers.

A total of five departments were at work fighting the fire. The Forest Service, the San Bernardino County Fire Department and the San Bernardino Police Department were in unified command, with the CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit and the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services assisting.

The cause of the blaze under investigation.

This is a developing story. Refresh this page for updates.

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