As containment grew on the 22,588-acre El Dorado fire, a blaze ignited during a gender reveal party by a smoke device, evacuations were lifted in the Big Bear area but Highway 38 was to remain closed.

The El Dorado blaze was 60% contained as of Tuesday, but continued to burn in the Yucaipa area.

Highway 38 was to remain closed from Bryant Avenue to Lake Williams Drive in Big Bear City, but Mountain Home Village and Forest Falls residents were the only ones allowed back in as long as they had identification.

Angeles Oaks, Seven Oaks and Onyx Summit remained under evacuation orders.

All U.S. Forest Service roads, trails and land remained closed, the U.S Forest Service reminded the public.

The El Dorado Fire began on Sept. 5 during triple-digit heat about 25 miles east of San Bernardino. It was caused by a smoke device used at a gender reveal party held during a weekend of high fire danger throughout California.

A 39-year-old firefighter died while battling the blaze on Thursday.

“California owes so much to the firefighters that put their lives on the line to keep us safe,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said. “This death is a stark reminder of that heroism. Our hearts are with this firefighter’s family, loved ones, and fellow firefighters during this tragic time.”

CAL Fire also reported twelve injuries as a result of the blaze. Four houses were destroyed while another two were damaged. Ten other structures sustained damages or were completely destroyed. 

Officials asked visitors to consider rescheduling visits to the Big Bear area due to fire activity, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service closed several national parks until further notice, including the San Bernardino National Forest where the fire rages.

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By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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