riverbottomfireFirefighters responded to a vegetation fire in the river bottom near Cottonwood and “E” St. in the City of Victorville. Due to a Santa Ana wind event that the High Desert was under, three brush engines, one water tender, one hand crew and two Chief Officers were dispatched.

Initial units arrived within five minutes after dispatched and worked their way into the river bottom to find a large area of vegetation and trees on fire being pushed by erratic winds. With a quick attack, firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading to surrounding vegetation near the original fire.

With thick and heavy vegetation found in the river bottom, engine firefighters were assisted by Glen Helen I, an inmate hand crew out of Glen Helen Detention Center. These inmates are an integral part of the firefighting capabilities in the wildland fire arena as they use hand tools and chain saws to overhaul the fire and allow engine crews to get water into deep seated areas that may still be burning below ground.

Due to the predicted Santa Ana Wind event, the San Bernardino County Fire Department had up-staffed the wind prone areas, to include the high desert communities it serves. This up-staffing allowed a swift response from personnel who were staged and ready to deploy at a moment’s notice.

Several homeless individuals were seen in the area prior to fire department arrival, with one individual being detained for questioning. San Bernardino County Fire Investigators determined the fire started from an open campfire which appeared to be actively being used to cook food.