Daniel R. Munsey, Fire Chief/Fire Warden

Incident- Vegetation Fire
Date / Time – 9/22/2021, 11:27am
Location- University x I-215, San Bernardino
Contact- Mike McClintock, Battalion Chief / PIO, MMcClintock@sbcfire.org

Yesterday morning crews were dispatched to a reported vegetation fire in the area of I-215 & University Ave, San Bernardino. Multiple 911 callers reported numerous small spot fires near the University exit.

Crews arrived to find 2-3 acres of light fuels already burning and spreading up “Little Mountain.” Firefighters initiated a fire attack, working to control the fire and keep it from spreading to nearby businesses. The fire quickly grew in a Northeasterly direction towards homes. Additional personnel and equipment were immediately requested, including rotor and fixed wing aircraft.

By early afternoon the fire had grown to over 50 acres and threatened more than 100 homes. San Bernardino Police Department assisted with evacuations and road closures. Arriving fire crews provided for structure defense and perimeter control, working to keep the fire from damaging the homes at the bottom of Little Mountain.

Aircraft, bulldozers and firefighters were able to stop the forward spread of the fire by 5PM. Despite temperatures close to 100 degrees, firefighters were successful in keeping the fire from damaging or destroying any homes or commercial buildings. Personnel remained on-scene through the evening and night working on containment lines and mop-up. Containment had reached 75% by nightfall.

At the height of the incident more than 150 firefighters worked to control the fast-moving fire. San Bernardino County Fire responded with 16 Engines, 2 Hand Crews, 2 Water Tenders, a Dozer, 6 Chief Officers and 2 Fire Investigators. CALFIRE assisted with 5 Engines, 2 Hand Crews, 2 Type III Air Tankers, Helicopter & overhead personnel. San Bernardino County Sheriff assisted with a water dropping helicopter. Colton, San Manuel, Rancho Cucamonga, Rialto and Highland Fire Departments all assisted. Thanks to all our cooperators for their response and help.

The cause of the fire was determined to be a flat tire. Sparks and pieces of the vehicle’s rim ignited dry vegetation while traveling west bound, on the University Avenue offramp. The car’s driver remained on-scene after the incident.

Crews continued to work today on mop-up and containment lines. The fire is now 71 acres and 100% contained.