BIG BEAR — A wildfire burning north of Big Bear Lake has grown to 850 acres and is setting off voluntary evacuations and the closure of part of a mountain highway.
However, while the Holcomb fire is spreading rapidly, it appears to be moving away from the San Bernardino National Forest’s most populated areas.
Fire officials have called in the massive Tanker 911, a DC-10, to assist the other aircraft and ground resources battling the fire. The DC-10 can carry 12,000 gallons of water or fire retardant, which can be dropped in a matter of seconds.
The fire was reported just after 3 p.m. off Holcomb Valley Road north of Highway 18 and quickly required air support. It’s burning through heavy timber, tall grass and chaparral, fire officials said. There are no containment lines around the fire yet.
There are voluntary evacuations for homes in the Baldwin Lake and Holcomb Valley areas and around the Big Bear dump, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and Big Bear Fire Department.
The California Highway Patrol is closing Highway 18 from Baldwin Lake Road north to the Mitsubishi Cement Plant just outside the forest boundary in Lucerne Valley.
Holcomb Valley Road — also known as 3N16 — is closed between Highway 18 and Van Dusen Canyon Road — also known as 3N09.
Van Dusen Canyon Road/3N09 is closed between Holcomb Valley Road/3N16 and Highway 38, which is also North Shore Drive.
The Pacific Crest Trail is closed from Highway 18 to Van Dusen. And the Doble Trail and Tanglewood Group campgrounds are closed.
In addition to the DC-10, fire officials have ordered seven air tankers, six helicopters and a helitanker to help douse the flames.
Winds of about 5 mph are blowing from the southeast — away from the closest homes — with gusts up to 23 mph, according to a U.S. Forest Service statement. It was 85 degrees with 10 percent humidity when the fire broke out.
A large column of smoke can be seen rising above the wooded terrain on Snow…