Nearly 100 rescues performed in San Bernardino County as mountain communities remain trapped in snow

Eric Resendiz Image
Thursday, March 2, 2023
Nearly 100 rescues performed in San Bernardino County
Nearly 100 rescues have already been performed in San Bernardino County, where officials declared a state of emergency.

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- San Bernardino County has declared a state of emergency after receiving an additional 4 to 5 feet of snow Tuesday night, leaving highways unsafe and residents in the mountain communities trapped.

The state of emergency will allow San Bernardino County to more easily request additional resources, officials said.

County officials have also said aid is on the way for residents trapped, including crucially needed food and water.

Nearly 100 rescues have already been performed in the county, including one of a sheriff's deputy.

Although there are no estimates as to how many roofs have collapsed or how much damage has been done on people's homes due to the winter storm, the county has said there have been no injuries or deaths reported so far.

With the additional snow Tuesday night, crews were out clearing roads and highways again in the badly hit county.

Once the roads are clear, the county's priority is to rescue and deliver food and fuel to the impacted residents in the mountain communities.

"This storm is unprecedented. Our National Weather Service said they issue out different levels of warnings. The highest is blizzard, and they've only issued that once. Which is this storm," said Brendon Biggs, the county's public works supervisor. "This storm covered the entire mountain range, from Wrightwood all the way over to Forest Falls with the heavy amount of snow that you see."

"That's too much for local resources to keep up with," Biggs continued. "So, a lot of primaries and secondaries and state highways were buried, and so we are in the process of digging them out right now."

Resident of Crestline Sarah Muecke is one the people still stuck in her home, and she said she has never experienced a weather event like this in all the years she has lived in the San Bernardino Mountains.

"In the 20 years that I have been here I haven't seen anything like this," said Ruecke. "Like, this much snow coming down this quickly and for this long of time. And for people not to be able to get in and out of their places. People are buried."

Officials are urging anyone who does not need to be on affected roads to stay off of them so trapped residents can be moved first.

Residents in the San Bernardino mountain communities are still trapped in the snow as officials work as fast as they can to deliver water and food to those still stuck in their homes.

"We are receiving lots of calls right now from those residents who need assistance," said San Bernardino County Fire Chief Dan Munsey. "But that assistance needs to be prioritized because the amount of resources is finite."

For emergencies and life threatening situations, people are urged to call 911. For all other storm related issues, people are urged to call the Storm Response Call Center at 909-387-3911.