Help Needed for Stranded Residents of San Bernardino County Mountain Communities

Residents of San Bernardino County mountain communities are struggling to cope with a once-in-a-generation winter snowstorm. Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in the county and surrounding areas on Wednesday, freeing up state resources to support disaster response and relief.[0] The California National Guard is on standby to help with relief efforts and a temporary closure of the San Bernardino National Forest has been put in place for public safety reasons.

Residents of the mountain communities have been stranded for days, with many running out of food, fuel, and medicine. The San Bernardino National Forest announced Friday that it will be closed until March 16 due to the “extreme public safety threat.” The Sheriff's Department has been working to help those stuck in the mountains, but many locals are still in need of assistance.

The city of Big Bear Lake closed all mountain highways (State Routes 38, 330, and 18) to and from Big Bear on Wednesday morning.[1] Michelle Calkins, a resident of Lake Arrowhead, took to social media to plead for help from the state, saying, “We need help.”[2]

The Office of Emergency Services has deployed the California National Guard to help dig out snowbound communities in the mountains.[3] They have also opened two shelters for residents impacted by the heavy snowfall, as well as coordinated food deliveries and escorts with power companies and service providers to access vulnerable populations who have been cut off by the heavy snow.[4]

Crews from Caltrans and Cal Fire with high-clearance vehicles have arrived to help clear the snow from the highways, but it could take a week to 10 days to dig out the mountain communities.[5] A large sign pleading for help was seen in the snow near Lake Gregory in Crestline, and gas stations are beginning to run out of fuel. Residents are hoping snow plows will be able to clear the roads and highways to establish safe routes out of the area.[6]

0. “‘Help us!!': Crews work to get supplies to stranded residents after severe snowstorms” ABC News, 4 Mar. 2023,

1. “Sheriff: Stay out of the San Bernardino Mountains” KTLA Los Angeles, 3 Mar. 2023,

2. “‘We need help': Stranded Lake Arrowhead residents plead for assistance amid food and medication shortages” FOX 11 Los Angeles, 3 Mar. 2023,

3. “California declares state of emergency in 13 counties after brutal winter storm traps residents” CNN, 2 Mar. 2023,

4. “Gov. Newsom declares state of emergency in SLO County due to winter storms” San Luis Obispo Tribune, 2 Mar. 2023,

5. “‘Reconsider Your Plans': Emergency Closure Ordered for San Bernardino National Forest” NBC Southern California, 4 Mar. 2023,

6. “San Bernardino County declares state of emergency as SoCal storm dumps more snow on mountain communities” KABC-TV, 28 Feb. 2023,

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