Since last Wednesday, June 17 a fire has been raging in the San Bernardino National Forest in Southern California. Although the fire has not burned any structures as of yet, it broke through its containment area early this morning on Thursday, June 25, 2015. Now Pioneertown, the local area that was built in the 1940's and served as a motion picture set for "The Cisco Kid," "Judge Roy Bean" and the 1954 TV series "Annie Oakley" is under voluntary evacuation.
According to local news reports from KESQ in Palm Springs, the fire has grown to 23,199 acres and the fire which had been considered 38% contained has now grown out of control and is deemed only 21% contained after backfires raged out of control.
Pioneertown was under a similar threat in 2006 during the Sawtooth Complex Fire. Although firefighters were able to save the movie sets, much of the surrounding desert was damaged.
Gene Autry also filmed his television show directly from Pioneertown and now it serves as a popular tourist destination. Over 200 movies and serials were filmed in this small town that was built to mimic a town from the 1880's. Pioneertown's post office is known to be the most photographed post office in the entire nation. No doubt that the loss of Pioneertown would be a terrible loss to the community near Palm Springs, and tragedy to a historical landmark that has served as a backdrop to many movies and TV series.
The Lake Fire started in a remote area known as Barton Flats, not far from Big Bear Lake. No structures or lives have been lost during the fire as of now, but this new development could spell a tragic loss of an important and historical movie landmark. The origins of the fire are unknown and are currently under investigation.