S.F. firefighters sent to battle SoCal blaze

San Francisco firefighters joined 1,000 other firefighters working to gain control of a 15,000-acre wildfire burning in the San Bernardino National Forest, San Francisco Fire Department spokesman Ken Smith said.

Shortly before 6 p.m. Saturday the fire department's state Office of Emergency Services strike team was called to assist in battling the blaze, which is being called the Butler 2 fire, Smith said. The team consists of four firefighters and two strike team leaders.

About three hours later, five city-owned engines manned by 20 firefighters and two strike team leaders were sent to the fire as well, Smith said.

The San Francisco firefighters are expected to stay at the fire for about a week.

The Butler 2 fire started as a five-acre fire at about 1:20 p.m. Friday. The blaze quickly jumped to about 500 acres Friday afternoon, U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Jocelyn Holt said.

By Saturday afternoon the blaze had grown to just under 14,000 acres. By this morning, 15,433 acres had burned and the blaze was only 12 percent contained, Holt said.

An estimated 600 homes are currently being threatened and about 1,200 people have been evacuated. Several surrounding areas are under voluntary evacuation, Holt said.

One outbuilding went up in flames Saturday, but so far no other structures have been lost, Holt said.

One firefighter stepped in a pothole and suffered minor injuries, but no other injuries have been reported, Holt said.

Fire personnel are fighting the blaze with 12 fixed wing aircraft, 14 helicopters, 41 engines, 27 hand crews, 15 bulldozers and 14 water tenders, Holt said.

Several roads in the area have been shut down and schools in the nearby school district will be closed Monday.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, Holt said.

All fire stations in San Francisco remain open and all of the engines that went to the Butler 2 fire have been replaced with back-up engines, Smith said.

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