Truck fire sends ‘flaming balls of paper’ into vegetation off 15 Freeway in Devore

A tractor-trailer flatbed loaded with bundled cardboard caught fire on the southbound 15 Freeway in Devore on Tuesday afternoon, sending “flaming balls of paper” rolling downhill and into vegetation, a fire official said.

Eric Sherwin, San Bernardino County Fire Department spokesman, didn’t know how many acres had been burned by the so-called Paper fire.

It was one of three fires burning in the northeast San Bernardino/Devore area, fueled by gusty Santa Ana winds. Between that, the Little Mountain fire and the Meyers fire, several freeways and connectors were closed down and traffic has been snarled.

By 5 p.m., the northbound 15 Freeway had reopened but southbound lanes in the Devore and Glen Helen Parkway area remained closed, according to Caltrans.

How the tractor-trailer’s load caught fire about 2:20 p.m. isn’t clear, but the truck may have just driven through the area where the other two fires were burning, Sherwin said.

The driver was able to detach the trailer from the cab, but the ties that kept the load secure caught fire, Sherman said.

The county fire department was working in conjunction with U.S. Forest Service on the Paper fire.

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