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California Wildfire Cuts Off Highway & Intermodal Rail Route
August 25, 2016
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The "Blue Cut Fire" in Southern California is disrupting BNSF and Union Pacific rail traffic, including intermodal traffic moving to and from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Service interruption at Cajon Pass may cause customers to experience delays of 36-48 hours on shipments moving through this corridor, according to a BNSF customer service announcement.

"BNSF is currently experiencing an operational impact due to track outage, caused by wildfires in Cajon, Calif," the notice said. "Cajon, Calif. is approximately 20 miles Northwest of San Bernardino, Calif. This location impacts traffic to and from the Southern California On-Dock (SCOD), Los Angeles and San Bernardino facilities. The estimated time for opening for the main tracks has not been determined.

“BNSF's main lines through the Cajon Pass have been shut down since yesterday,” said Lena Kent, BNSF director of Public Affairs. “We have been working closely with Forest Service and will reopen our lines when it is determined safe to do so. I am not aware of any major structural damage to our property. We had deployed water trucks and were able to assist fire personnel in protecting our structures. However, there are power lines that have fallen across our tracks that will need to be removed. We hope to begin moving through the Pass this afternoon.”

UP spokesman Justin Jacobs told American Shipper that tracks have been shut down and “we are starting to reroute trains through different parts of our network.” He estimated as many as 20-25 trains might move through the area affected by the fire.

“First and foremost is safety and we are coordinating with the Forest Service, local fire departments and local responders to assist and be helpful in any way that we can,” he said. “Unfortunately, there is no timeline with regard to when operations can resume.”

Cal Fire said Wednesday morning the Blue Cut Fire has engulfed 30,000 acres.