Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Posted: 11/10/2010 04:58:28 PM PST

San Bernardino County Supervisor Neil Derry has commissioned a population growth and road capacity study to help the county plan for future development in the San Bernardino Mountains.

The county will soon begin taking bids from contractors to prepare the study, expected to take about a year. The study will be funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The study will examine current population totals in the San Bernardino Mountains, including full- and part-time residents and visitors, carrying capacity for evacuation routes and the time needed to vacate the mountains should an emergency arise.

On Oct. 25, 2003, the arson-caused Old Fire erupted in Old Waterman Canyon and rapidly spread across the mountain range, destroying nearly 1,000 homes and forcing the evacuation of about 80,000 residents. Six people died from injuries related to the fire.

Ricky Lee Fowler, 29, of San Bernardino has been charged with murder and arson in connection with the Old Fire.

“Wildland fires continue to be a major consideration for land-use development and public safety,” Derry said in a statement Wednesday.

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