Cajon Pass Fire on 15 Freeway Stalls Vegas Plans for Labor Day Weekend
Updated after the jump: The 15 South will reportedly be closed all night. The northbound lanes are open, but moving like molasses. Your Vegas trip: Officially a bust. Originally posted at 3:50 p.m.
Las Vegas Sun View of the fire from those lucky enough to already be in Vegas.
All those early birds who already left for their Labor Day trips to Vegas are totally not getting the worm right now:
Traffic on the 15 North has been backed up for almost three hours, and California Highway Patrol cars are just now escorting the first wave of waiters through the Cajon Pass, at a snail's crawl.
CHP officer Daniel Hesser told KTLA minutes ago: "If you can stay away from these freeways right now, do."
"Otherwise, stay patient."
Patient??!!! It's bad enough we vacation-deserving Angelenos have to sit five hours on a hot desert highway just to get our three-day weekend on in the City of Sin. (Like we don't deal with enough traffic on the day-to-day). But a 500-acre brush fire, further impeding our path to $25 douche drinks and sub-"Hangover" escapades? Unacceptable.
Anyway, information: The northbound 15 is open, like we said, but at a crawl. The southbound is still closed, pending re-open, between Route 395 and Route 138 near Hesperia.
The CHP officer told KTLA that leaving anytime today or tonight for Vegas will probably be a "nightmare," traffic-wise -- it's backed up to about the 215 split with the 15 -- so you might just want to wait until tomorrow morning, as big of a buzzkill as that may be.
The U.S. Forest Service is Tweeting constant updates on the firefighting effort here. Check back to this post for updates on the commute to Vegas -- because that's obviously the most important thing right now.
Update: One of Hugh Hefner's bunnies appears to be stuck on the southbound 15. (Leaving Vegas? On Labor Day weekend? Can't... comprehend...) She's got the best Twitter account we can find of the mundane fire-traffic experience, to be read from bottom to top:
Update, 4:30 p.m.: A CBS2 correspondant says traffic is still at a complete stop as far back as Glen Helen Parkway. So, news flash: Do not leave for Vegas right now. Since there is no wind or breeze at the moment, the 15 North will remain open, but that could change at any moment as CHP and fire officials continue to re-assess the situation.
It's also very worth mentioning that 1,500 homes near the huge brush fire -- in the Oak Hills area -- are under evacuation. They include many rural farmhouses and "hundreds of recently built luxury horse properties spread over the hills," according to MSNBC.
Update, 6:15 p.m.: KNX news radio reports that the southbound lanes have no hope of opening until at least morning. Time for a detour, babe. As for the route to Vegas: Still looks pretty awful, but not impossible.