As soon as we saw the smoke from Rainbow Ranch Farms (8/16/2016) in Pinon Hills, Dennis and I went to check on Jacks property to move the honey bees (Robert and Jennifer King) to a safe place.
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We pleaded with the fire department to allow us to rescue the livestock (honey bees), but we were told no because it was unsafe. Later we were told that the fire burned through our property very fast due to the quick shift in winds.
We spoke with Leanne Sutter of ABC-7 news and she stated that she had just come from that area and that it was a fast moving fire.
On Wednesday Aug. 17 2016 we tried all day to gain access to the property, in an attempt to rescue the honey bees. Eventually San Bernardino County Deputies sent a detective to take us to the property. While at the command station we were interviewed by the Daily Press regarding the situation.
Once at the property, the deputies could not allow us to exit the vehicle due to regulations.
Later I called for some more help and Dael Wilcox helped by allowing me to accompany him, since he was doing a news report on the Blue Cut Fire. Dael is also a beekeeper and together we searched for living bees, Queens and hives that could be saved.
Upon arrival we began to search for hives that could be saved. We inspected frames for Queens and found one hive that still had a Queen with bees. They were robbing the honey from the other hives to survive. Although the water buckets had melted from the heat, the surviving bees were still able to get plenty of water.
We stabilized 2 bee hives, and I will go back once the road is open to the general public.
Entire hives were driven to ashes. The structures, the cabins and even the front house (Mikes house) were all gone. Hives had been wind blown as far as 200 feet, and honey was streaming along the ground..
Above our heads, this chopper was moving fast to reload his bucket.
Our prayers go out to everyone who has been displaced and our deepest sympathies are extended to Jack Schmidt, Mr. and Mrs King and everyone who suffered loss of life, livestock, pets and property by this devastating fire.