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Mountain residents still pleading for help nearly two weeks after blizzard

Thirteen days after a blizzard buried communities in the San Bernardino Mountains, residents said the response has been abysmal, and they said it’s costing lives.

"I’m mostly concerned about the elderly people," said Lynn, a Lake Arrowhead resident who did not want to give her last name.

She said neighbors have been stepping up and are trying to help the most vulnerable among them, especially the elderly.


"Some of these people are 90 years old. They can't dig out, they can't get out to get their meds, they can't get out to get food. I’m sure there (are) people we don’t know about that aren’t getting help," she said.

"I know there’s fireman and fire people trying to help," Lynn added, her voice breaking as she said, "it’s just not enough." 

She said people in some areas have it worse, like in Crestline, where the roof of a grocery store collapsed, and in other remote areas where food distributions are miles away.

"People can't get to there if you’re snowed in, and the people down in Crestline are walking miles to get there.  Some people are dragging sleds to get food for them and their neighbors, so if you can't get to it it doesn’t help you," she said. 

Help is coming from San Diego County. Cal Fire San Diego sent 56 firefighters who have been digging residents out of their homes and delivering aid to mountain residents. The Humane Society of San Diego’s Project Wildlife got an urgent request to help bring in food and supplies to a wild animal sanctuary that is snowed in.


Andy Blue with Project Wildlife said he will be on standby for days, in case they need to evacuate animals like coyotes, bears and deer, but the most urgent need was food.

Lynn said she was grateful to hear about help from the outside for people and animals, but said a lot more help is needed now. She thinks it’s to the point that maybe federal help needs to come to save them because many feel abandoned by local, county and state officials.

"There (are) going to be casualties, if there aren’t already," She said. "I’m sure they’re doing the best they can, but how long can you do that?"

KPBS has created a public safety coverage policy to guide decisions on what stories we prioritize, as well as whose narratives we need to include to tell complete stories that best serve our audiences. This policy was shaped through months of training with the Poynter Institute and feedback from the community. You can read the full policy here.