'Pilot Fire' smoke triggers watery, itchy eyes

- Day three of the "Pilot Fire" in San Bernardino County was more of the same. The fire continued its advance and, in advance of that, smoke barreled into nearby communities making for bad air quality.

As a big part of the fire continued its north-northeasterly trek, the smoke, filled with ash and unhealthy particulates, swirled toward Hesperia where local Candace Appling described the condition "like smog."

And it’s really not that clear where the fire may ultimately end up. Firefighters said if it continues in the direction it's heading, it could end up making a path toward the east end of Hesperia and the west end of Apple Valley.

There are large ranch homes there which, firefighters said could be problematic.

"Mainly because of the fact that it is a wind driven fire. The fuel component we have is called 'flashy' which means it's prone to ignition very, very quickly," Chon Bribiescas with U.S. Forest Service said.

The drought doesn’t help either.

The air attack has been largely about creating barriers to keep the fire from damaging high voltage power lines and the aqueduct. They’ve also been dropping lots of retardant between the fire and homes, which Bribiescas said is working very well because of the variety of aircraft over the fire.

Due to the air quality, the Hesperia Unified School District and all of its schools were closed Tuesday. Same for schools in Apple Valley.

This was tough for some moms, like Maira Alba, who had to stay home from work. For daughter Brianna, who is just starting high school, she didn't seem to mind.

"I was kinda happy because high school is very different from junior high."

The firefight continues and so does the battle of water-eyes.

"The smoke is horrible," said resident Dawn Damm. "It’s really hard to breathe. It affects my asthma."

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