All schools were closed Tuesday in the Hesperia and Apple Valley unified districts as the fast-spreading Pilot Fire grew to nearly 11 square miles and sent plumes of smoke across the San Bernardino Mountains.
Hesperia Unified noted that it was closing as a precaution as the fire shifted north.
Apple Valley schools were closed because of the poor air quality, according to a statement from the district. The district planned to reopen Wednesday.
The fire started about noon Sunday and has burned through scrub and brush left extremely dry after years of drought.
San Bernardino National Forest spokesman Bob Poole told KPCC those fuels haven’t burned in at least 15 or 20 years.
Nearly 1,000 firefighters assisted from above by air tankers and helicopters were working to contain the fire, which was threatening about 5,300 homes.
Mandatory evacuations were expanded in Hesperia late Monday to include the Summit Valley area south of Ranchero Road from Arrowhead Lake Road to Santa Fe.
Voluntary evacuations were in place in the Lake Arrowhead area, including everything north of Peninsula Road between Brentwood and North Bay roads.
This is what a direct hit of #phoschek looks like! #PilotFire #structureprotection bullseye! Well done #airsupport!pic.twitter.com/JknpOnLJ9T
One of the evacuated areas, Deer Lodge Park, remained threatened Tuesday. The fire has spread to a rocky area above the small residential community on the north side of Lake Arrowhead, and it continued to creep down toward the community. About 200 homes were threatened there.
Some people remained in the area despite orders to evacuate, and firefighters were told to watch out for the potential hazard of people driving around in the area.
No homes have been burned and no injuries have been reported.