Bernard Field Station in Flames for Second Time In Five Years

A firefighting helicopter assists with a brush fire at the Bernard Field Station on Thursday. (Courtesy of the Claremont COURIER / Steven Felschundneff)

A brush fire started on the western edge of the Bernard Field Station at approximately 5:45 p.m. on Thursday, according to the Claremont Courier. While an initial email message from Campus Safety at approximately 6:20 p.m. described the fire as contained and extinguished, more recent information indicates that the fire is still active. Campus Safety recommends that students stay indoors, as smoke from the fire has impacted air quality in the area.

According to posts from the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Twitter account, the fire is no longer spreading. As of 7:40 p.m., the fire was contained to approximately four acres. As of 7:45, there were few areas of intense fire remaining, and the three helicopters, which had been dispatched, were no longer needed.

The latest update from Campus Safety indicated that no people or buildings are in immediate danger.

“Los Angeles County Fire Department still working on an active brush fire in the Bernard Field Station with flare ups moving eastbound with no danger to buildings or persons,” read the emergency message, which was sent to students via email and text at 6:44 p.m.

Campus Safety also urged students in the Claremont area to avoid the area around the field station on Foothill Boulevard, Mills Avenue, and Indian Hill Boulevard. Messages further urged students to stay indoors, as smoke from the fire has impacted air quality in the area.

Campus Safety and representatives of the LACFD were unable to provide additional information about the fire.

A representative of LACFD Station 102 in Claremont told TSL that the station’s firefighters were still at the scene of the fire at approximately 8 p.m., and that members of other fire departments had been called in to cover the station.

This is not the first brush fire at the field station in recent years. In September 2013, sparks from a nearby Golden State Water Company project at the intersection of Mills Avenue and Foothill Boulevard led to a two-alarm fire that drew 100 firefighters and air support from helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.

Following the 2013 incident, professors and students received a grant to study the fire’s impact on the ecology of the station.

At 11 p.m., Campus Safety announced via text message that the fire had been extinguished, but College Avenue and Foothill Boulevard would remain closed. In total, the fire burned approximately four acres of land, according to an email from campus safety.

The cause of the fire has not yet been identified, according to the Claremont Courier.

This is a developing story, and will be updated as more information becomes available.

This article was updated at 11:09 p.m. on May 18 to reflect subsequent announcements from Campus Safety.

This article was updated on May 19 to reflect that the cause of the fire is unknown.

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