Despite Blue Cut FIre evacuation order, half of Wrightwood staying put

Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Despite evacuation order, half of Wrightwood staying put
Fire officials say that only half of the 4,500 residents in Wrightwood have complied with evacuation orders due to the raging Blue Cut Fire.

WRIGHTWOOD, Calif. -- As flames start to make their way toward Wrightwood Wednesday, it's business as usual in many parts of the town, despite mandatory evacuation orders from authorities.

Sheriff's deputies went door to door overnight urging families to pack up and get out of Wrightwood, a town of more than 4,500 residents.

With the raging Blue Cut Fire now spreading to within just a few miles of the town, many families are packing up -- but staying put for now.

PHOTOS: Wildfire burns San Bernardino National Forest hillsides

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A burned out residence stands amid rubble on Highway 138 after the Blue Cut Fire burned through Phelan, Calif., on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016.
AP Photo/Noah Berger

"We've had worse, and we've stayed through it. I'm staying," said Sherri Hannon of Wrightwood. "I don't want to leave the house."

When asked why she didn't want to leave the house, Hannon said, "My parents built it in '89, and it's all I have left of them."

In fact, much to the dismay of fire officials, Wrightwood remains open for business. The local sandwich shop and bakery fed firefighters and neighbors like Steve Bell.

"If it comes into this village, it's going to burn like matchsticks," he said.

And that's what concerns emergency crews most.

MORE: Full list of evacuations, road closures, animal shelters and school information

"We're seeing extreme fire behavior. We're seeing spotting up to half a mile, and if there's public that are trying to come out or that are blocking the roads, it makes a very hazardous situation, as well as potential entrapment," said Jake Rodriguez of the U.S. Forest Service.

Bell and Dan Pavlock say they have been through this drill before, and they have no plans to evacuate just yet.

"It's not threatening enough for me yet," Pavlock said. "My family thinks so, but I don't."

For more on the Blue Cut Fire burning in SoCal, click here.