Newest Update on the Lake Fire: June 20, 6:41 p.m.

Thank you to Laura Dyberg for helping keep the news out about the status of the Lake Fire that is burning in the San Gregonio Mountains.

The most recent information she just sent: the fire has grown to approximately 6,000 acres and is burning in timber. It is currently 15 percent contained and there are approximately 500 structures that are threatened.However, no structured are believed to be damaged or destroyed at this time.

The fire has moved further south in the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area. Due to turbulent winds above and near ridge lines, helicopters have been more effective than air tankers in slowing the fire.

The resources on the fire scene include 1,875 personnel, 91 engines, four air tankers, 16 helicopters, including those that are night-flying, one air attack plane, 31 crews, six water tenders and five bulldozers.



St. Richard’s Church Philanthropic Shoe Collection Closes Dec. 1

shoesThanks to the generosity of so many mountain residents over 800 pair of “gently used” shoes have been donated to the St. Richard of Chichester Episcopal Church for the campaign to help people in  countries who may be in need of shoes. The project ends soon so if you have shoes in good condition that you have outgrown, simply can’t stand, have been given to you but are too small or too large, donate them to people in countries where shoes can often be considered a luxury.

Parishioners at the Skyforest-based church have been collecting shoes for people in developing countries that may need help. The church members hope to reach their goal of providing 1,000 pairs of shoes to adults and/or children in need. Thusfar, over 800 pairs of shoes have been generously donated by residents and visitors who have heard about the collection. parishioners are thrilled with the response to this philanthropic project and hope that before the Dec. 1 deadline that additional shoes will be donated so the church members can reach their goal of collecting 1,000 pairs of shoes to help those in need.

Donation sites include: First Mountain Bank in Running Springs, California Bank and Trust in Lake Arrowhead, Lake Arrowhead Pilates Studio, Arthur’s Interiors in Blue Jay and California Bank and Trust in Crestline.





“Silver Fire” Near Cabazon 10 Perfect Contained

fireWhen the federal government projected a bad fire season they knew what they were talking about. Fires in southern California are proving to be a strain on fire agencies, homeowners, business owners and just about everyone else.

The latest fire, known as the “Silver Fire,” started Aug. 7 at approximately 2:05 p.m. in Riverside County. The location is Poppet Flats Road near Hwy. 243, south of Banning.

In an update at 4:37 p.m. on Thursday, August 8 the fire had grown to 11,000 acres and is only 10 percent contained.

As of 4 p.m. evacuations have been ordered for Snow Creek Village as well as portions of Cabazon. The communities of Black Mountain, Vista Grande, Mt. Edna, Poppet Flats, Silent Valley and Twin Pines are under an evacuation notice.

Evacuation centers have been set up at Hemet High School at 41701 East Stetson Avenue and at Beaumont High School at 39139 Cherry Valley Boulevard. The animal evacuation site is located at San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus, 581 South Grand Avenue in San Jacinto.

Cooperating agencies include American Medical Response, the American Red Cross, the Bureau of Land Management, the California Highway Patrol in Indio, the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the March ARB, Morongo Fire Department, the Orange County Fire Authority, the Riverside County Fire Department, Riverside County Fire Office of Emergency Services, the Riverside county Sheriff’s Office, Southern California Edison, the U.s. Forest Service, the San Bernardino  County Fire Department and the Ventura County Fire Department. A total of 1,000 fire personnel are on scene as of the latest press information.

This afternoon, the fire continues to be active on the eastern flank toward the Cabazon area. The “silver fire,’ at the present time i burning uncontrolled in the foothills behind Black Mountain. Black Mountain has been evacuated and closed as a precaution. Boulder Basin and Black Mountain campgrounds on Bear Mountain Road have been closed through August 15. Campers who have reservations should contact “Reserve America” at 1-877-444-6777 for information on reservations refunds.

Goats Help Reduce “Fuels” in Cleveland National Forest

Goats on the Cleveland National Forest nibble on vegetation to defend communities against wildfire by reducing regrowth. (U.S. Forest Service photo)

Remember that great song, “Everything Old is New Again?” Well, it’s true. Given enough time things do come around again and a perfect example of that are the goats that are nibbling their way around areas the Cleveland National Forest. The goats may not realize it but “they’re being used” as a way to keep forest fuels at as low a level as possible in order to help reduce the fire hazard. The goats are happy and so is the U.S. Forest Service.

Recently, 1,400 goats reported for duty with the U.S. Forest Service. Their mission? Just keep eating because that will reduce the buildup of fuels that can ignite and start a forest fire. The goats were a part of a 100-acre forest thinning project that began in late April to clear a 300-foot community fuel break area between the San Vincent/Barona Mesa communities and the forest.

“This community fuel break was designed to help defend the communities from wildfires originating on forest land and those that originate on private lands and spread into the forest,” said Palomar District Ranger Joan Friedlander. “To clear a fuel break normally means lots of human power and machinery, including chain saws, hand tools and safely burning piles of brush.” This grazing project is seen as an experiment to determine the best avenue to maintain the fuel break and prevent fire hazards in San Diego County, she said.

The goats were brought into the area to reduce and slow the regrowth of vegetation. Chamise, a type of evergreen shrub found in California and Northern Mexico is particularly being targeted. The shrub tends to sprout up quickly after being cut, so the test is to see if the goats might be a more economical way to combat that rapid regrowth.

Several elements were used to keep the goats “on task.” Six border collies served as herding dogs and two Anatolian guard dogs were used to protect the goats from coyotes, mountain lions and people.

The initial project was completed in May. Goat-powered fuels reduction cost between $400 and $500 per acre, nearly one-third of the cost of more labor-intensive methods of brush clearing. Project organizers also pointed out the tremendous amount of community support and interest due to this project.

In moving forward with this project, “the forest” established a plan to monitor both pre-and post-treatment plots so the effectiveness can be evaluated over time and compared to traditional methods also used in this area.

“We will continue to evaluate other methods that will best meet our objectives of protecting and sustaining the forest and community,” Friedlander said. “But the goats could prove to be a useful resource to have in our toolkit, particularly in areas where more conventional methods may not work as well.”

No “Kidding.” These goats contributed to forest health merely by being hungry.

Rickie Lee Fowler, Old Fire Arsonist, Scheduled to be Sentenced Jan. 28

Convicted Old Fire arsonist Rickie Lee Fowler is set to be sentenced at 8:30 a.m. on Monday morning, January 28 in the San Bernardino Courthouse at 351 North Arrowhead Avenue (directly next to the five-story county offices). Fowler has requested a new trial and that request must be dealt with before the sentencing can proceed or be postponed if a new trial is ordered. Providing that Judge Michael Smith dismisses the “new trial” request the sentencing will move forward.

Fowler was found guilty of starting the Old Fire in October 2003 which claimed the lives of five people and destroyed thousands of acres of land and burned 1,000 homes in the San Bernardino Mountains  in San Bernardino. Ultimately the fire, in October 2003, burned over 90,000 acres of land in the San Bernardino Mountains and in other San Bernardino areas. It began in Waterman Canyon.

If you plan to go to the hearing plan to be at the courthouse be there at  8 a.m. Anyone going into the courthouse  is required to go through security screening and the line, particularly on Mondays, can be long so plan ahead and allow extra time. After going through security you can check the “docket”  or “schedule” to see which courtroom the sentencing hearing will be held. The “docket” is the list of hearings and their individual courtrooms and they are hanging on the wall in specified locations throughout the courthouse.

The jury has recommended the death penalty for Fowler. Ultimately jury members felt  his actions resulted in the deaths of the five victims who died as a result of the stress caused by the unstoppable fire and the panic that ensued. Many of the victims  suffered heart attacks due to the stress of trying to evacuate and leave threi area safely with what belongings they could gather.

Archeological Theft Results in Conviction

Forest Service flogoJohn Miller
Public Affairs
San Bernardino National Forest

602 South Tippecanoe Avenue

San  Bernardino, CA 92408
(909) 382-2788

US Attorney’s Office – Jerry C. Yang (951) 276-6221


Conviction in Archeological Theft

San Bernardino, Calif., December 14, 2012 –Three residents in the Big Bear valley pleaded guilty in a theft of historical artifacts from the National Forest and were sentenced to a fine of $1,000 each.

US Forest Service law enforcement officers in August discovered that three residents of the Big Bear valley removed a historic feature, an arrastre, from the Metzger Mine in Holcomb Valley, north of the Big Bear valley.  The arrastre was an exhibit on the Gold Fever Trail.   The three local area men were charged with removing, a prehistoric, historic, or archaeological resource, structure, site, artifact, or property from National Forest Service lands.   On December 4, Jerry Yang from the US Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case before the federal magistrate in Riverside, and the trio pleaded guilty and were ordered to each pay a $1,000 fine each.  In addition, they must return the arrastre stones and replace them in their original location.   This task will be completed under the guidance of a Forest Service archaeologist.

“This sends a clear message that it is not okay to loot archaeological sites,” said Dr. Bill Sapp, Forest Archaeologist.  “Once it is gone it is gone forever,” Dr. Sapp added.

During the 1800s, the arrastre provided a crude and inexpensive method for grinding hard rock ore, particularly ore containing free gold. An arrastre consisted of a circular, stone-lined pit where the ore was crushed by means of a drag stone, which was pulled around the bottom of the pit by a horse or mule. Scores of arrastres, some dating from the gold rush of 1860, once dotted the forest landscape, but most have been destroyed or vandalized


You Can Help Protect The Past.

Get involved in preserving the past by volunteering your time and talents.  Our volunteer Site Stewards  help protect the past, by monitoring historic sites and reporting looting and vandalism to forest officials.

Site Stewarts also encourage others to be stewards of the past by your example of treating remains of past cultures with respect, treading lightly, and leaving artifacts in place.  For more information on becoming a site steward, contact Dr. Bill Sapp at (909) 382-2658 or


About the U.S. Forest Service, San Bernardino National Forest

The San Bernardino National Forest is comprised of three Ranger Districts spanning 676,666 acres in San Bernardino and Riverside counties. From the desert floor to the pristine mountain peaks, the San Bernardino National Forest offers natural environments, spectacular scenery, developed campgrounds and picnic areas, numerous recreational opportunities, and the solitude of quiet wilderness and open space for the over 24 million residents of Southern California and those visiting the area. The forest environment also provides habitat for numerous plants and animals and is crucial in sustaining drinking water, air, and soil quality. Learn more at


John Miller
Public Affairs
San Bernardino National Forest

602 South Tippecanoe Avenue

San  Bernardino, CA 92408
(909) 382-2788