An unusual summer rainstorm on Sunday helped California firefighters manage a blaze (The North Fire) that started on Friday over the weekend near the desert community of Baldy Mesa and skipped across parts of Highway 15, sending motorists fleeing for their lives. According to a July 19th, San Francisco Gate Report, Rain calms California Fire that jumped freeway, burned cars, "the flames destroyed 20 vehicles on the freeway before heading into the neighboring community of Baldy Mesa, where it burned seven homes and destroyed 44 more vehicles. In all, the fire burned about 8 ½ square miles.”
This section of Highway 15, known as the Cajon Pass, is a main route from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. It was Friday and traffic in this area is usually a little more congested on Friday. On July 18, Fire Engineering quoted stranded motorist Lance Andrade, a 29-year-old railroad conductor from nearby Apple Valley who found himself caught in the traffic jam just as the fire jumped the freeway. “You could hear the explosions from people's vehicle tires popping from the heat...you could hear crackling. Smoke was coming in every direction. You could feel the heat. We just waited it out and prayed to God."
It was amazing that only minor injuries occurred. Drought and warm weather in California has caused concern about wildfires in the state. This fire was pushed by 40 mile per hour winds up the side of the mountain and over the freeway. According to a Cal Fire Report, “Repopulation in the communities of Baldy Mesa and Oak Hills has begun. San Bernardino County Sheriff will maintain an increased presence in the area for a period of time. Utility companies continue the repair of damaged public utilities in the affected areas.” According to this same report the fire is currently 75% contained.