Five-hundred fire-fighting personnel are making progress on the Valley Fire in the San Bernardino Mountains, fire crews have contained five-percent of the 1,000-acre wildfire and the community of Forest Falls continues to be under mandatory evacuation.
The flames are close to the Forest Falls community located about 25 miles from Yucaipa, and the close proximity forced a mandatory evacuation for those residents.
Priscilla Sena is a medical technician and she was working in Palm Springs when she learned about the wildfire burning close to her home.
“I was looking from Banning and Beaumont area I could see the fire, it was huge,” Sena said. “They had Highway 38 closed and I couldn’t get up and my children were up there and my animals, so luckily the great sheriff’s came and rescued my kids.”
The evacuees from Forest Falls are being directed to the emergency evacuation shelter inside the auditorium of the Inland Leaders Charter School.
Tony Briggs is a spokesperson for the American Red Cross, he said about a dozen people spent the night during the first night of evacuations.
Briggs said, “It’s very important for them to understand that they need to take everything that they need in order to make themselves comfortable here, as far as maybe a blanket or pillow, their medication or reading glasses.”
He said they have enough food, water, and other necessities for the residents under evacuation orders.
However, Sena said she had no time to react and prepare for an evacuation.
Sena said, “I have my work clothes on from yesterday, and it is a shock and all we could do is wait right now, just looking up there it is scary.”
There is still no timeline for when the fire might be contained or when residents can return to Forest Falls. Meanwhile, near record, high temperatures, strong winds, and potential floods are all weather concerns for setbacks in the fire-fighting efforts.
Sena said the fire has not reached the homes in Forest Falls, but she is mostly glad her loved ones are safe and with her. Sena said, “I have to say the firefighters and sheriff’s department rangers are doing a fantastic job, they were so quick in responding and just thankfully they got my kids to me.”