Cooler Temps, Lighter Winds Help Firefighters Battle the Fast Moving Hill Fire

Photo by ABC7.comNikki Garrett Metzger

HighDesertDaily.com

(Oak Hills) – A fast moving wildfire chased Oak Hills residents from their homes on Friday and closed both directions of the 15 freeway for hours.

The Hill Fire was reported around 12:40 pm in the center divider of the 15 at Oak Hills Road.  It raced west of the freeway and headed down the hill toward homes in the Oak Hills community. The fire had charred over 1100 acres. 1 home was heavily damaged, 2 mobile homes were lost and 2 other structures were damaged.

Winds died down over night and temperatures dropped, allowing firefighters to make progress on the fire.  At last report the fire was 20% contained. 1500 homes were evacuated, but nearly half of those homeowners were allowed back into their properties last night.

The 15 freeway southbound was closed at Hwy 395 for 6 hours.  It finally opened just before 8pm.  The northbound lanes were closed for about 2 hours at Hwy 138.

Structures are still threatened in the Oak Hills Area and  the mandatory evacuation area has been reduced to south of Mesquite, east of Baldy Mesa Ave., and west of Oak Hills Rd.  The Red Cross set up an evacuation shelter at the Fairgrounds in Victorville that was also accepting animals.

There are 831 personnel assigned to the fire. One firefighter was evacuated out for a medical emergency. A second firefighter suffered heat exhaustion.  Resources on the fire include 72 fire engines, 5 dozers, 5 water tenders, 5 helicopters, 14 airtankers (including the DC-10) and 22 handcrews.

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