Wednesday, September 19, 2007

T-Boomers Wednesday - Butler II Fire

USDA Forestry Department MODIS Active Fire Map showing the Butler Peak Fire Incident #2 area of containment and most active fire environments within the area of containment. Issued September 18, 2007 - Image Credit: USDA via Jerry B - SoCalMountains Chat/Forums

T-Boomers Wednesday - Butler II Fire

Morning headlines for Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - Day Six - Butler Peak Fire Incident #2:




Yesterday was a good day indeed. The 2,000 + crew of fire fighters were proving to be the difference Tuesday ... where the fire tried to threaten structures in the Pine Oak area of government land lease cabins on steep terrain near the dam and the village of Fawnskin.

Yesterday's Score?:

FIRE - 0

CDF & USDA Hotshots - 2

The change in the weather may actually be a double edged sword. On one hand, the weather is cooler and may contain moisture to put the fire down ... on the other hand, winds, thunderboomers & lightning have the possibility of creating more mountain fires - this is exactly how the Butler Peak Fire (incident #1) got started.

Image Credit: San Bernardino National Forest - USDA FOREST SERVICE

Today, with success on the firelines, may be the last of this series of Big Bear Lake area fire activity updates and posts.

Excerpts From SoCalMountains Chat/Forums –

Wednesday 19 September 2007 - 06:23:02
We will have strong winds before any rain or snow late tonight so I hope that doesn't fan this fire. It's one of my main concerns in question right now

Wednesday 19 September 2007 - 06:27:09
They are predicting winds sw @15-20mph today. Hope their wrong.

Wednesday 19 September 2007 - 06:36:48
They will be more like Southwest 40-50mph tonight
Morning update from KBHR 93.3FM -

Butler Peak Fire Incident #2

Update as of 6:30am Wednesday, September 19:

The fire is 86% contained at 14,039 acres. Fawnskin is still under a mandatory evacuation order. Today 2,346 fire personnel are assigned to the Butler #2 Fire.
Excerpts From SoCalMountains Chat/Forums –

Wednesday 19 September 2007 - 08:09:39
per scanner ( helos are lifting off from the big bear airport heading over this way

Wednesday 19 September 2007 - 08:14:05
just checking in to catch updates, things look really great right now fire is laying down, The winds can change everything in a few minutes, stay alert and aware and keep your fingers crossed.good luck wont be able to check in most of the day but wont be far from my thoughts

Wednesday 19 September 2007 - 08:22:17
i ususally monitar the air attack only,, others will post in about whats happening on the ground , rotw usually has whats going on thru alerts and someone willl post what they read back on here

Wednesday 19 September 2007 - 08:24:31
theres a little still in front of butlers and some to the left behind but nothing like yesterday. i think they are contol buning at this point

Wednesday 19 September 2007 - 08:25:15
im back , the fire has really layed down last nite, greys peak you can see where its been burned but hardly any smoke is showing good news on that then,

Wednesday 19 September 2007 - 08:27:09
per scanner ( talk is getting assignments of where people are working today nothing major happening yet ,
Wednesday 19 September 2007 - 08:40:35
huge "muther" storm cloud
coming over the mtn, heard on the radio Banning is
getting light rain this morning already, here in Snowcreek, strong wind gusts to 20mph..

Wednesday 19 September 2007 - 08:56:54
Snowcreek Village sits at the base of the San Jacinto Mtns, where the verbenia and Snow fire was....So side of banning pass area. Cloud is as big as the plume from your fire seen in photos, its moving north...
I put additioanl in fo oon the LOBBY CHAT

Wednesday 19 September 2007 - 08:58:25
thx snowcreek! we're look forward to a nice stormie knocking this fire down!!

Photo from a live streaming camera located at Snow Summit Ski Area. Photo taken at 10:30 AM PST and shows a lot less smoke from previous days images from the same camera. If one looks closly, the view of the northern mountains shows the red striping of fire retardant drops from fixed wing support aircraft. Image Credit: Big Bear Mountain Resorts - "Westridge" Camera

Wednesday 19 September 2007 - 10:47:39
per scanner (we just had a rekindle at the top

workng on getting bilbets and bladder bags up to you , they have nothing in supply working on it - (discussion of a smoke that if it drops down ) if it drops down there in there yes sir" it sure could , dont think it will make it all the way to camp , " no the first one, but that second one
out there

Wednesday 19 September 2007 - 11:09:51
per scanner div a ( by the dam) doesnt need any more support - fog has rolled into running springs per scanner

Wednesday 19 September 2007 - 11:23:19
per scaner have a saftly issue near the roadway of hwy 18 , its a large tree about 40 foot its burning , it will be coming down

Wednesday 19 September 2007 - 11:23:22
ROTW: have a safety issue; one tree is burning, about a 20' tree; it's going to come down into the roadway; we have a dozer ready, waiting to move it when it comes down

Wednesday 19 September 2007 - 11:23:32
i think they are letting it burn off the dead trees at this point

Wednesday 19 September 2007 - 11:25:26
I think we all know these guys are getting a very good handle on this, they may have some trouble spots but things are looking good.

Wednesday 19 September 2007 - 11:26:15
xx me too, but i havent heard it was on the other side yet, of hwy 18,, i cant confirm that yet,, pm craig or ben mabe they know but i did hear about a few spot fires yesterday morning but aa pounced on them super hard, but as to active fire there now idont know

The view of Grey’s Peak (Butler II Fire) with the Solar Observatory standing guard in the foreground. Photo taken from Stanfield Cutoff as of 8am Tuesday morning (9/18/2007). Prevailing winds in this photo are to the northwest. Image Credit: KBHR 93.3FM
Wednesday 19 September 2007 - 12:30:33
Noon KBHR - The wind factor does remain an issue today, as there is a High Wind Advisory for the San Bernardino Mountains through 11am Friday. The National Weather Service reports that the High Wind Advisory could mean gusts as high as 35 miles per hour in our area. At present, local humidity is at 15%, and winds at the KBHR studios in Big Bear City have already been as high as 20 miles an hour in the last hour.

John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service tells us that the mandatory evacuation order for Fawnskin will absolutely not be lifted today. We are in close contact with Incident Command and the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, and will be sure to let evacuees know as soon as a return to the North Shore is announced.

Wednesday 19 September 2007 - 13:28:48
ROTW: Spot weather forecast from Holcomb Creek area, elevation 7224, south aspect; dry; 64 degrees; 4% relative humidity; winds 3 mph out of the SSW; gusts to 10 mph; clear skies

Wednesday 19 September 2007 - 13:40:33
per scanner ( another weather report - 9% rh
winds 16-18 mph gusting to 28 up here , on the knob

Wednesday 19 September 2007 - 13:43:00
scanner talk is about getting out the smokes same as befor nothing has really changed
shipping in crew supplies that they need say up on the ridges or with the engines, nothing major

Wednesday 19 September 2007 - 13:45:49
north shore is looking good i dont see any smoke coming up fawnskin area - only trouble spot is stilll greys peak now and then it puts up alittle black smoke nothing major and skies are clear all the way thru from one end to the other end from what i can see at the lake

Wednesday 19 September 2007 - 13:56:11
per scanner ( the fire has rekindled in big pines flat, right on the edge of the line at leas a mile ne of the station - ( big pines flat area) no one in that area - well try to take care of it - if you cant get anyone down in there - winds are getting to it and its getting into the brush alittle bit - it appears to be with in the burn about 20-30 feet of the dozer line

Wednesday 19 September 2007 - 13:59:07
per scanner winds are picking up alittle bit here where del rosa hot shots are working at

Wednesday 19 September 2007 - 14:02:19
per scanner ( big pines flat winds sw at 25 at the ridge


This wind report has the potential of not being very good. The last three days, the prevailing winds have been to the northeast at around 10 mph or less ... 25 mph in the opposite direction has the potential of changing the whole complection of this fire. We will keep an eye on it.

Wednesday 19 September 2007 - 14:10:44
Wind from Snow Summit - Average windspeed (ten minute) 4.5 mph Wind Direction (ten minute) SSW (204ยบ)

Wednesday 19 September 2007 - 14:20:57
per scanner ( aa or helos ( tahoe hot shots are in div W working with H720 and H534
engin 54 is working with 767 with the los pardres hotshots and kern valley hotshots , in div Z div A has h 707 woriking with groveland hotshots , div b has santa barbara hotshots working with 4 channel tac is in div W

Afternoon update from KBHR 93.3FM -

Butler Peak Fire Incident #2

Update/recap as of 3pm Wednesday, September 19:

Great progress has been made on the Butler #2 Fire and, though there are still areas burning, containment is at 86% as of last night, and total burned acreage has been held to 14,039 acres.

The voluntary evacuations for Lucerne Valley, Green Valley, Running Springs and Arrowbear were lifted as of last night. The mandatory evacuation for residents of Fawnskin does remain in place at this time.

As of this morning, there are over 2,300 personnel on scene, and those firefighting forces include 70 hand crews, 164 fire engines, 8 dozers, 28 water tenders, and 17 helicopters.

Lee Bentley of the U.S. Forest Service, stationed at Incident Command in Snow Valley, tells KBHR that those numbers will probably change later today, as fire status may allow for demobilization of some fire personnel. “This thing is looking real good,” Bentley notes, “as long as the winds stay the same.”

The wind factor does remain an issue today, as there is a High Wind Advisory for the San Bernardino Mountains through 11am Friday. The National Weather Service reports that the High Wind Advisory could mean gusts as high as 35 miles per hour in our area. At present, local humidity is at 11%, and winds at the KBHR studios in Big Bear City have already been as high as 20 miles an hour.

Due to these factors, and the fact that there are still areas that are burning on the Butler #2 Fire, which brings with it a possibility of blowing embers, there is no return date for Fawnskin residents at this time. John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service tells us that the mandatory evacuation order for Fawnskin will absolutely not be lifted today.

We have been in Fawnskin this afternoon, and the good news is that all homes remain intact. There are engine crews staged throughout neighborhoods, should conditions change. Though there is not much in the way of visible burn scarring from downtown Fawnskin, there are surrounding areas as close as a ¼ mile away that continue to smolder and burn.

Spot fires continue to burn on Arctic Circle. When we were on scene in the last hour, we did see flames just off the roadway. Helicopter water drops continue in the area, and hand crews are hard at work in the steep terrain off Highway 18.

The Arctic Circle is lined with fire engines. CalTrans trucks are also there, clearing the rocks, debris, and burned vegetation that has rolled down the slope and onto 18. For this reason, and ongoing concerns for public safety, there is no estimated reopen date for Highway 18 from Running Springs to the Big Bear Dam.
Wednesday 19 September 2007 - 19:10:35
93% Containment!! Yahoo!!!!

Mandatory evacuation for Fawnskin residents lifted as of 6pm Wednesday!

Only residents will be allowed into Fawnskin at this time, so be prepared to show proof of residence.

** Last Posting Of This "Thunderboomer" Series Unless Things Go Dredfully Wrong **

Update from KBHR 93.3FM as of 9am Thursday, September 20:

As of yesterday evening, Incident Command reports 93% containment on the Butler #2 Fire, which has been held to 14,039 acres. The cause of the fire, which was spotted by the Butler Peak Lookout Tower on Friday afternoon, is still under investigation.

John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service tells us that the remaining 7% which isn't yet considered fully contained includes the Arctic Circle portion of Highway 18, in the vicinity of Butler Peak, and the north end of the fire toward Lucerne Valley, where there is extremely rocky and steep terrain.

Engine crews will remain on Arctic Circle, watching for spot fires and extinguishing any roll-out, which includes burning debris that comes down the slope. As Miller noted this morning, “Highway 18 is going to continue to be a real concern for us.”

That said, Highway 18, from the Big Bear Dam to Running Springs, will remain closed to traffic as it is still an unsafe zone. Engines, hand crews and CalTrans trucks will continue to be in that area today.

Fawnskin residents were allowed to return home last night, as the mandatory evacuation was lifted at 6pm yesterday. Postmaster Cynthia Crane tells KBHR that the Fawnskin Post Office will be open today. Highway 38 along the North Shore, from the Discovery Center to the Big Bear Dam, will be open to Fawnskin residents only, so be prepared to show identification with proof of physical address. Utility bills will be accepted as proof at the California Highway Patrol stop points. Highway 38 along the North Shore will open to everyone else after 6pm this evening.

The U.S. Forest Service reports two injuries to firefighting personnel yesterday—one dislocated shoulder, and a dislocated knee.

The following areas remain closed at this time: Camp Whittle, Big Pine Flat, Ironwood, Hanna Flat Campground, yellow post campsites, and the Butler Peak Lookout. The following forest roads also remain closed: 2N13, both ends of 3N14, 4N16, 3N16 at Crab Flats, and Grays Peak Trailhead.

But, the good news is that containment is at 93%, the Butler #2 Fire has been held to 14,039 acres, and Fawnskin residents are allowed to return home.

Update as of 9am Friday, September 21:

The great news from Incident Command on the Butler #2 Fire is that containment is officially at 100%, and total burned acreage was held to 14,039 acres.

Today's mop up and rehabilitation efforts are being overseen by the California Interagency ICM Team 4 and, as of this morning, 1,466 personnel remain on scene. Though, according to Pete Jankowski at Incident Command, they will continue demobilization of many crews today, with an expected 500 or so firefighting personnel on scene by this evening.

Butler Peak Fire Links (all postings):

Butler Peak Fire Incident #1 (Labor Day Weekend 9-2-07) & #2 – Saturday

Butler Peak Fire Incident #2 – Sunday

Butler Peak Fire Incident #2 – Monday

Butler Peak Fire Incident #2 – Tuesday

Butler Peak Fire Incident #2 – Wednesday (final)

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