Monday, September 17, 2007

Thunderboomers Monday - Butler Peak Fire Incident #2

Butler Peak Fire 2 PROGRESS MAP (posted by Blakey - 9-16-07 11PM – socalmountains - forums) NOTE: the orange is the OFFICIAL FIRE PERIMITER based on the map used at meetings last night. the red is the area highlighted by the officials as the latest progress not yet incorporated into the maps that had been previously displayed. To lend a perspective of distance to the viewing of this map ... Big Bear Lake is seven miles long and one mile wide at its widest point. Image Credit: Forums Administrator – Blakey


Thunderboomers Monday - Butler Peak Fire Incident #2

Overall, yesterday saw weather that was better than expected. With the addition of about 500 to 600 more firefighters on the lines, increased tanker and helicopter fire dropping activity, the threat to structures was abated around the village of Fawnskin – but, of course, today is another day.

Hotspots remain, and the fear is, that even though Big Bear Lake and Green Valley Lake may be out of danger at the moment … Lucerne Valley lays directly in the path of the prevailing winds.

Today’s weather expects to see an increase in the winds that were surprisingly mild on Sunday.

Fire fighting outfitted DC10 #910 heads skyward after a last minute sunset retardant drop over Fawnskin. This photo was taken from Division Road near the end of the runway at the Big Bear Lake Airport. Image Credit: mountainmanor - socalmountains - forums

This excerpted from the San Bernardino County SUN -

Winds help stifle fire
Growth slows, danger persists
Joe Nelson, Jason Pesick and Melissa Pinion-Whitt, SB SUN Staff Writers - Article Launched: 09/16/2007 11:32:05 PM PDT

Calm morning winds lured the 15,000-acre Butler II wildfire away from Green Valley Lake and toward Lucerne Valley on Sunday while more than 2,000 firefighters continued to battle the blaze.

The 15 to 20 mph winds that caused the blaze to explode Saturday from 400 acres in the morning to nearly 14,000 by evening, slowed to 7 mph early Sunday, helping firefighters get a 12 percent containment on the blaze.

The fire was estimated at 15,433 acres Sunday evening, growing about two miles on the eastern flank from where it was Saturday.

There were 2,245 people fighting the blaze Sunday.

Firefighters allowed Green Valley Lake residents to return to their homes after lifting a mandatory evacuation for the area.

Mandatory evacuations remained in effect for Fawnskin, where 600 structures were threatened, although the blaze had stopped heading for the area Sunday.

Lucerne Valley was under voluntary evacuation from Crystal Creek Road on the east to High Road on the west and north to the Pitzer Buttes area.

Although the fire's spread slowed in the morning, firefighters still worried that the dry conditions and gusty winds could change the fire's behavior.

Cindy Bean, incident meteorologist, said overnight winds Sunday will be a big factor.

"It's going to be dry, and the winds are going to be picking up," Bean said Sunday evening. "Keep in mind, it's still very, very dry out there.

Gusts up to 35 mph were expected on ridgetops Sunday night.

"If we get strong gusts, that could take the fire in a different direction," said U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Jocelyn Holt.

U.S. Forest Service firefighters try to put out a spot fire while fighting the Butler II wildfire near Fawnskin on Sunday. Image Credit: Brett Snow/SB SUN Staff Photographer

Fire personnel were starting to see spots in the desert northeast of the fire and fearing that winds from the west could push the blaze farther east toward Holcomb Valley and Lucerne Valley - areas full of heavy timber.
Dan Felix, a fire-behavior analyst, said that although there's less fuel for the fire in the desert, there's still concerns that the fire will head out there.
Dozens of firefighters stood by homes along Rim of the World Drive in Fawnskin, providing structure protection.

Firefighters from around the Southland, including Downey, Santa Fe Springs as well as from Ventura and Orange county departments, scattered around the area, guarding homes.
By midafternoon, some of the fears concerning firefighters earlier in the day became real.

Gusty winds kept the fire burning strong near Fawnskin. The heavy smoke flames became dangerous enough on Gray's Peak that U.S. Forest Service hot shot crews were pulled out of the area.

Ten strike teams were ordered for the community, in addition to the four teams already in the area.

"With the history of fire in this area, you don't take any chances," San Bernardino County fire Capt. Mike Horton said.

Pilots in fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters dropped a ring of fire retardant around the community, in anticipation of a flare-up.
CDF Capt. Cheryl Goetz said the mission for her team of 19 firefighters from the Monterey San Benito unit was to see if properties across the Lucerne Valley had enough defensible space in case the fire burns through the area.
Residents also watched with concern as the flames crept over the mountain and continued heading north.

David Velazquez, 34, stood in his yard at the corner of Zircon and Crystal Creek roads in Lucerne Valley with his sons Joshua, 6, and David Jr., 17, raking manure while Joshua scooped it up.

A thick white band of smoke crowned the mountain ridge behind Velazquez.
Velazquez said authorities notified him by phone on Saturday night of the voluntary evacuation.

A sheriff's deputy went around his neighborhood as well knocking on doors, informing residents to be on alert.
Velazquez said he was very concerned about the fire burning down the north side of the mountain toward his home.

"Embers and ashes are falling, and it's very dry out here," he said, adding he was worried that the tar shingles on his roof might catch fire if stray embers land on it.

Velazquez said if the situation worsened, he would water down the roof and if evacuation was necessary, he would head to a relative's home in Ontario.
Reference Here>>

Fire progression map Friday through Sunday evening. Color Code: Yellow & Orange=Friday AM, PM Magenta=Saturday Royal Blue=Sunday – Image Credit: USDA Forestry Service via KBHR 93.3FM

Photo taken of the Butler Peak Fire Incident #2 from the Westridge (Snow Summit) cam at about 7:04 in the morning of 9-17-2007. Smoke covering the mountains along the north Big Bear Lake valley behind Fawnskin. Image Credit: Big Bear Mountian Resorts

Excerpts From SoCalMountains Chat/Forums –

Monday 17 September 2007 - 06:34:19
OK - AM visual. I see not plumes of smoke from my vantage point (but remember - I'm WAY OVER ON THE EAST END OF TOWN). I'm about as far away as you can get from the fire's location - so this is just a "visual from my location"

Monday 17 September 2007 - 06:41:59
I just saw a live report on Channel 7 from Lakeview. In the background - across the Artic Circle- you could see flames burning along Hwy 18

Monday 17 September 2007 - 07:11:30
right across the lake in big bear lake, im across from greys peak - fawnskin is to my right from looking out side, yes smoke is building ,,

Monday 17 September 2007 - 07:11:42
Last night the smoke was all around the valley. Heavy in some places. Light in others.

Monday 17 September 2007 - 07:14:16
XXX went down the hill to apple valley about 5pm yesterday, he said the smoke was so thick around the m plant, couldn't breathe or see.
Butler #2 Fire CDF UPDATE:
Name: Butler #2 Fire
County: San Bernandino County
Administrative Unit: San Bernandino National Forest
Status/Notes: 12% contained - 15,433 acres - North of Big Bear
Date Started: September 14, 2007 1:51 pm
Last update: September 17, 2007 7:30 am
Monday 17 September 2007 - 07:30:32
Hey all, I have sure appreciated the info that you are putting out this morning. I live in Lucerne Valley in the voluntary evac area. We have fire spotting on the hill just north/west of the OMYA quarry. I work at the Mitsubishi plant and we still have quite a bit of smoke, but nothing like we had at home on Saturday. Our schools are all open this morning. My concern is where is the fire this morning and does it look like it will crest our mountains which are Sentinal at OMYA's quarry and White Mountain.

Monday 17 September 2007 - 07:30:42
torw-(Ground unit) It's closing in on Gray's Peak, but probably still about 1/2 a mile away from the line; I can use some heavy helicopters or whatever you can get in here. That, and the part to the west is a priority

Monday 17 September 2007 - 07:38:37
hope they can get serious air strike going while the GIANT is still slumbering!

Monday 17 September 2007 - 07:38:39
per scanner fire looks to be still at the rim will need lots of buckets for this

Monday 17 September 2007 - 07:50:12
My husband is driving down Hwy 38 and is at Camp Angeles. He just called to tell me that there is a fire due North of Camp Angeles. He is watching it now. It is definately a new fire according to his visual from Camp Angeles

Monday 17 September 2007 - 07:50:38
per scanner - you saw it on top then, response ?yea it looks pretty easy, air to air is really bitchen right here now - helos are lifting off the big bear air port


Monday 17 September 2007 - 07:57:40
did they ever catch the guy in camo yesterday?

Monday 17 September 2007 - 07:58:34
as far as i know yes , this man is toast

Monday 17 September 2007 - 07:59:56
what was the man in camos??

Monday 17 September 2007 - 08:02:35
XX, supposedly, he was starting fires??

Monday 17 September 2007 - 08:02:38
he was seen few days ago trying to start a fire down on hwy 138, but didn’t

Monday 17 September 2007 - 08:03:35
man in camos??? - camp angeles fire???

Monday 17 September 2007 - 08:04:05
XX ..... my hubby just double checked but the fires people are seeing from Angelus Oaks is the Butler fire above the arctic circle. I know it seems out of place but you can actually see it from this angle. No other fires working in our mountains other than the Butler fire!!

Monday 17 September 2007 - 08:06:53
would be fun being the deputies doing a jail transfer on that guy
Monday 17 September 2007 - 08:15:48
The retardant line is being laid down just north of the government leased cabins on the North Shore near the dam.

Monday 17 September 2007 - 08:43:08
im back from the dam, ( fiire has not crossed over the dam meaning to the other side, they do have the helos and air craft doing drops, a team of engins went towards the dam they may be staging there unknown,,

my end of the valley is getting heavy with smoke and sky is getting darker ,
the houses near the dam are fine,, i just came from there this fire is over the next ridge and helos are doing a great job geting work down it doesnt look any way as mean as it did yesterday,, except the valley is getting the heavy smoke,, lite winds coming up, over my way,, but as to the homes this side of the dam , they are fine,,
ffs have been putting retardant on that ridge that goes down into those homes , like i said doing great in that area

Excerpts from the morning update at KBHR 93.3FM –

Butler Peak Fire Incident #2

Monday, September 17: Fire officials have asked the California Highway Patrol to close an additional portion of Highway 18. Little Arctic Circle will now be closed from the Dam to just west of Boulder Bay, to alleviate congestion in the area, as 10 helicopters will be pulling water from the west end of Big Bear Lake. Highway 18 is now closed from Running Springs to just west of Boulder Bay. Residents of this portion of Big Bear will be allowed access to their homes.

In other community news (updated at 11am) : The Big Bear City Community Services District will not be holding their regularly scheduled meeting this evening.
The VCA Animal Hospital on the North Shore has asked that those who have pets there, please come pick up their animals this morning.

Rocky Obliger, Deputy Chief with the San Bernardino National Forest and, as of this morning, the Incident Commander on Butler #2 Fire, says that this fire, currently burning approximately 15,400 acres, is unrelated to the original Butler Fire, which was sparked by lightning 13 days earlier.

The Butler #2 Fire, which was reported from the Butler Peak Lookout Tower spared over Labor Day weekend, was named Butler #2 because of its location, as fires are named for their geographical identity.

Since the original Butler Fire, Obliger points out, we did have two inches of rain in the fire area. “Right now,” he says, “we don't have an estimated containment date.” As of this morning, containment is still at 12% percent, though weather conditions have been favorable, and 2,245 personnel are on scene today, battling Butler #2 Fire, which remains the number one wildland fire priority in the nation.

No homes in the Fawnskin area have been lost to the fire, and residences are being watched by deputies of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. Captain Lee Watkins of the Big Bear Station reports, “I've brought in additional manpower to keep that area safe.

To date, there are unconfirmed reports that three sheds have burned at Camp Whittle. The Hanna Flat Campground was destroyed by fire on Saturday.

As there is no anticipated return date for residents of Fawnskin at this time, Postmaster Cynthia Crane of the Fawnskin Post Office tells KBHR that those who receive their mail from the Fawnskin Post Office will be able to pick up their mail at the Big Bear City Post Office (off Greenway Drive) from 1 to 3pm today, Monday.

Highway 18, down the front way remains closed to all traffic, from the Big Bear Dam to Running Springs, though residents of Green Valley Lake are being allowed access from Running Springs. At last night's Community Fire Information Meeting, Fire Information Officer Jim Wilkins said, “The fire has burned all the way down to the highway. There is no way to protect you from that stuff that's coming down.” That stuff is rocks, due to erosion, and debris from the fire. That said, CalTrans tells us that Highway 18, along Arctic Circle, will remain closed until at least Tuesday afternoon, though no reopen date has yet been scheduled.

Blog entry found on a link at the San Bernardino SUN -

Fire crews staging on Highway 18
September 17, 2007 11:08 AM

Crews are lining Highway 18 up to the Big Bear Dam to ensure the flames don't jump the road. The terrain west of the old Butler Fire burn area is too steep and rocky for crews to navigate.

"We're just letting it burn back down and patrolling from the road." said Mike La Nier, superintendent of the Groveland Hot Shots.

Tankers are dropping red fire retardant on brush bordering Highway 18 and some firefighters are concerned about the rocks and pine cones rolling down. East of the old Butler burn, give hot shot crews are cutting direct hand line around the fire.
--Stacia Glenn

Conservation Corps brings in recruits

The Inland Empire California Conservation Corps has brought in dozens of men and women ages 18 to 25 who are seeking careers in forestry or firefighting.
They deliver supplies, bag the trash, run errands, and fill up gas tanks.
“I’m learning more about my surroundings, about my environment,” said Trevelle Denn, 22, of San Bernardino. - The corps recruits sleep in tents on the hillside behind Snow Valley Ski Lift with fire personnel.
And what have they learned? - “Fighting fires is a lot of work and time,” said Jon Davis, 19, of Mareno Valley.
- Stacia Glenn

Spotter plane has engine failure and has to put down in field:

Red and white USFS spotter plane reported engine failure over the lake, 'put it down' in the field; pilot is out of the plane at this time - Image Credit: SKYPROS - SoCalMountains Chat/Forums

Excerpts From SoCalMountains Chat/Forums –

Monday 17 September 2007 - 13:17:36
sorry it was one of the seats p3 plane that had engine failure landed in a field behind big bear choppers

Monday 17 September 2007 - 13:17:39
Plane crash at Fox Farm Rd. & Sandalwood Dr

Monday 17 September 2007 - 13:17:44
Crash was at Fox Farm and Sandelwood. Going to hold ALL aircraft at San Bernardino for now.

Monday 17 September 2007 - 13:19:19
Per Scanner: Pilot appears to be out and alive. Aircraft smoking. Sounds like it went into a field.

Monday 17 September 2007 - 13:19:29
Red and white USFS spotter plane reported engine failure over the lake, 'put it down' in the field; pilot is out of the plane at this time.

Monday 17 September 2007 - 13:20:37
Pilot is Ok, official report.

Monday 17 September 2007 - 13:25:26
Hard landing behind the hospital, right behind Interiors..

Monday 17 September 2007 - 13:25:51
P/Scanner - Pilot is ambulatory, plane is in 1 piece.

Image Credit: SKYPROS - SoCalMountains Chat/Forums

Monday 17 September 2007 - 13:35:55
Folks, relax, the pilot of the Single Engine Aircraft if fine, he had a rough landing it sounds like behind Interiors, walked away more or less, the fire remains the focus which has NOT pushing into Fawnskin which remains the main concern now....

Photo shots from Green Valley Lake with the fire almost due east about two to three miles away. These shots were posted at 4:58 PM PST - Image Credit: DepotJim - SoCalMountains Chat/Forums

Monday 17 September 2007 - 16:11:09
Green Valley Lake update: We have 2 helicopters using the lake for refilling their buckets. They are in every 5 minutes or less. We can't actually see where they're dropping it due to the smoke coming off the East side of Crafts peak

Monday 17 September 2007 - 16:12:22
When I first went out there 25 minutes ago, it looked easily under control. Within 10 minutes it looked like they were dropping gas on it instead of water (I believe the wind picked up). I just left and it looks to have died down a little, but it is definitely moving East/NEast

Monday 17 September 2007 - 16:13:01
I could understand if they
[GVL] wanted to evacuate because it sounds like WWII out here. In between the helicopters we have the big planes flying over

Hand crews have been creating defensible space around homes in Fawnskin today. Image Credit: KBHR 93.3FM

Excerpts from the evening update at KBHR 93.3FM –

Recap/update as of 5pm Monday, September 17: The Butler #2 Fire remains the number one wildland fire priority in the nation, though fire officials report good progress on the fire today.

The active fire is now 2 ½ miles west of Fawnskin, which is much improved from yesterday's report that the fire was just a half mile west of the community on the North Shore. Official statistics on the fire have not been updated in recent hours, though the fire has stayed within the perimeter established by fire personnel, 2,245 of which have been on scene today. Current statistics remain at 15,433 acres burned and 12% containment.

As of this morning, the nation's Incident Management Team 1 assumed leadership of the Butler #2 Fire, and fire crews from throughout the state of California are here in the Big Bear Valley.

Fire officials report that containment efforts to the north have been successful, and the west-bound perimeter of the fire has also seen considerable progress today. Word is that fire crews expect to have the upper hand in fire suppression efforts later today, or tomorrow.

John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service reports that the following fire suppression crews and equipment are on scene: 102 hand crews of 20 members each, 10 helicopters, 12 airtankers including the DC-10, 250 fire engines, 33 water tenders, and 12 dozers.

Little Arctic Circle was added to the Highway 18 closure (from Running Springs) to ensure public safety and relieve congestion at the west end of Big Bear Lake, where helicopters have been retrieving water for fire suppression. CalTrans tells us that there is no estimated reopen date for Highway 18 down the front way.

Fire crews have been creating defensible space around homes in Fawnskin, by clearing vegetation and removing duff.

Sheriff's Deputies are also in the neighborhood, to ensure the safety of residences. There are still no reports of structural loss, aside from an unconfirmed report that three sheds at Camp Whittle have burned.

There is no estimated return date for residents of Fawnskin, though mail pick-up for evacuees will be available at the Big Bear City Post Office each day, from 1 to 3pm.

Bear Valley Unified School District has announced that there will be school tomorrow, Tuesday.

Up date as Monday at 9:00pm; The Butler 2 fire is now 53% contained, 2505 personnel are assigned to fight the fire.

The updated acres burned to date have been reduced to 14,039. The Butler 2 fire continues to be the top fire incident in the nation thus garnering the necessary resources to battle the fire.

The south and southeast flank of the fire perimeter along highway 18 and 38 seem to be the most stubborn areas as they also contain some the most rugged terrain. Fire fighters from around the state are assisting in this fire fight.

Where threatened structures are located fie fighters are removing flammable vegetation, creating defensible space and then positioning them selves between the fire and exposed structures in order to provide a greater degree of protection against an advancing fire.
Reference Here>>


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)

1 comment:

robin Murdock said...

Thank you all for your information! I am a firefighters wife-we are from Fresno and it is difficult to get ANY information--and he is obviously busy fighting the fire! Keep all your info coming please! I'll be checking this blog regularly!