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He's no stranger to wildfires

Forest Service worker Bobby Wright lost a home three years ago in the Lytle Creek area. Now it's happened again.

October 06, 2009|Robert J. Lopez

Bobby Wright knows all too well about the threat of wildfires in the San Bernardino National Forest.

Wright, 63, who works for the U.S. Forest Service, lost a home three years ago in a fire that swept through the Lytle Creek area.

On Saturday, he lost his home again when winds up to 60 mph stoked the Sheep fire as it gobbled up dry chaparral and timber, authorities said Monday.

The blaze also killed about 20 dogs Wright had saved after they had been abandoned in the mountains by their owners.

"He's a very nice individual and a hard-working employee," said Carol Underhill, a Forest Service spokeswoman. "He's the type of person who cares about others."

The wildfire prompted authorities Sunday to evacuate the hilltop community of Wrightwood.

Officials said Monday evening that the town remained under evacuation, noting that the 7,824-acre blaze was only 30% contained.

Wright works out of the Lytle Creek Ranger Station as a recreation technician helping maintain area campsites and serving as a liaison to visitors. The area is close to urban centers in Fontana and Rialto and is a popular dumping ground for unwanted dogs and other animals, officials said.

Wright kept the dogs at his trailer in Swarthout Canyon, just north of the Lytle Canyon area. The trailer was one of three structures lost in the canyon as wind-whipped flames tore through the area. Wright could not be reached for comment.

Fire officials were cautiously optimistic Monday regarding their efforts to tame the Sheep fire. There were several flare-ups during the day, but the blaze had not grown since the day before.

Winds were about 10 mph, with gusts up to 20 mph. When the blaze broke out Saturday afternoon, gusts were as high as 60 mph, officials said.

More than 1,700 firefighters, along with 19 aircraft, were battling the blaze. The cause was under investigation.

Volunteers, meanwhile, were organizing to help Wright. Officials said contributions could be made to the Lytle Creek Forest Volunteers Assn. at the Lytle Creek Ranger Station, 1209 Lytle Creek Road, Lytle Creek, CA 92358.


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