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Fire burns 350 acres, triggers I-15 closure
Cajon fire containment by 6 p.m. Tuesday
CAJON PASS • A brush fire that consumed more than 350 acres around Interstate 15 north of Kenwood Avenue is expected to be fully contained by 6 p.m. Tuesday, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
The fire was reported at 10:55 a.m. on Monday between Kenwood Avenue and Cleghorn Road on the northbound I-15, and a Sig Alert followed at 11:09 a.m.
The blaze broke out as the region was baked by Santa Ana conditions, producing hot, dry winds of 10 mph and gusts of about 25 mph. The cause of fire was still under investigation as of 6 p.m. Monday.
All I-15 lanes were closed between Highway 138 and Sierra Avenue on Monday afternoon. Northbound Interstate 215 was closed at the Palm/Kendall exit. Cajon Boulevard was also closed between Kenwood and Cleghorn roads.
Some lanes on I-15 reopened around 5 p.m., according to the CHP.
Firefighters contained 5 percent of the fire as of 5 p.m. Smoke wafted over the mountains and into the Victor Valley. The southbound traffic on I-15 was backed up to Victorville.
Some drivers who found themselves stuck in the traffic turned around and drove on the shoulder of I-15 in the wrong direction, California Highway Patrol spokesman Joaquin Zubieta said.
Residents were ordered to evacuate their homes in an area known as Mathews Ranch as flames roared through chaparral-dotted foothills, but it was not immediately clear how many people were affected.
About 450 personnel from the U.S. Forest Service, Cal Fire, San Bernardino County Fire and San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department battled the fire. According to the USFS, 54 engines, six water tenders, five dozers, 12 hand crews, five airtankers and five helicopters were called in to assist.
Daily Press Online Coordinator Sarah Batcha and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
Tomoya Shimura may be reached at (760) 955-5368 or TShimura@VVDailyPress.com. Follow Tomoya on Facebook at facebook.com/ShimuraTomoya.