Forest Fire Erupts in California Mountains

BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif. (AP) -- A forest fire Thursday threatened a ski resort in the San Bernardino Mountains - a range scarred by devastating wildfires last fall.

A blaze intentionally set by the U.S. Forest Service to destroy dry brush and dead trees got out of control and roared through 200 acres. The fire was 20 percent contained by Thursday evening, said Linda Davis of the San Bernardino County Fire Department.

There were no injuries. A hut used by the resort's ski patrol was destroyed.

Skiers and others were ordered to leave the area, but there were no residential evacuations, said Georgia Smith of the Forest Service. Firefighters hoped snow covering the ski areas would slow the blaze.

``Why has this happened? Didn't they learn in Arizona and New Mexico when the controlled fires got out of control?'' asked Mike Motherspaw, 52, of Big Bear Lake, referring to intentional fires set four years ago.

The fire burned in an area about two miles south of the resort city of Big Bear Lake. Last fall, wildfires burned tens of thousands of acres and hundreds of homes to the west in the Lake Arrowhead area of the 840,000-acre San Bernardino National Forest.

But vast stands of trees killed by a bark beetle infestation remain, and Southern California's winter ended with days of record-breaking high temperatures.

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