Sunday, September 16, 2007

Thunderboomers Redux - Butler Peak Fire Incident #2

Evening photos of the Butler Peak Fire Incident #2 from Stanfield Cut-Off. The fire rekindled and established itself with the help of gusting 25 mph winds on Friday, September 14, 2007. Image Credit: Blakey via SoCalMountains Forums

Thunderboomers Redux (Sunday Reports)- Butler Peak Fire Incident #2

This posting effort is a continuation of an original posting that began with the first Butler Peak Fire that started over the Labor Day holiday weekend entitled Thunderboomers, Lightning Strikes, Mountain Fires. Today, information of the events of the day will continue here, at MAXINE.

The fire rekindled and established itself with the help of gusting 25 mph winds on Friday, September 14, 2007. On Saturday, the fire split out on two fronts growing from 2,000 acres to almost 14,000 acres by nightfall.

Yesterday, those who were interested found it hard to get information about the fire from any of the local TV or Radio news outlets here in Los Angeles. The best way to get any up-to-the-minute information was by surfing the net and gleaning information from about 7 to 10 radio, forum and responder support websites.

The Butler Peak Fire Incident #2 grew so fast and produces so much smoke, plumes were carried and could be seen from the ground as far away as Las Vegas. From weather satellites, the drifting smoke effect was even more dramatic.

Still Image from satellite image loop at NOAA web site. Image Credit:

The Butler Peak Fire Incident #2 begins its third day with morning temperatures in the high 40's expecting to reach the low to mid 70's by around 2:00 pm. Winds are expected to be gusty in the 20 mph range but not as heavy as yesterday.

Photo taken of the Butler Peak Fire Incident #2 from the Westridge (Snow Summit) cam at about 6:22 in the morning of 9-16-2007. High clouds on top, a blue sky band, and smoke covering the mountains of the north Big Bear Lake valley. Image Credit: Big Bear Mountian Resorts

Today finds us with the last report posted at 9:35 pm 9-15-07 on the wbsite of Big Bear Lake's radio station, KBHR 93.3FM -

Butler Peak Fire Incident #2
As of 9:45pm Saturday, September 15:

Incident Command reports that the revised acreage tally is 13,829 acres have burned in the Butler #2 Fire. Containment is still at 5%, though firefighting crews will continue working all night, and expect that number to be changed by morning, when 1,085 personnel will be on scene.

Converted DC10 Jet on a fire retardant drop at 15:30 9-15-07. The DC10 can drop enough retardant to cover 8/10ths of a mile. Image Credit: mountainmanor via SoCalMountains Forums

Aircraft will resume at first sunlight. CalFire's DC-10, which has been on scene since 11am, can carry 24,000 gallons of fire retardant, and will continue to do so on Sunday. As of nightfall, only one structure has burned, that being an outbuilding at Camp Wittle. Hanna Flat Campground has been destroyed. All homes in the Fawnskin area are OK and Fire Information Officer Jim Wilkins tells us that there is no immediate threat to the Big Bear Valley.

As of 2:30pm today, San Bernardino County, specifically Board of Supervisors Chairman Paul Biane acting as the county's Director of Emergency Services, declared a local emergency proclamation. In addition to making Butler #2 Fire a priority for all county agencies, the proclamation is the essential first step in securing state and federal disaster assistance. The county reports that the Telephone Emergency Notification System (known as TENS or “reverse 911”) was successful in conveying evacuation information to residents today.

Mandatory evacuations are in place for Fawnskin, and east on Big Bear Lake's North Shore to the Discovery Center, and the Green Valley area. Voluntary evacuations are in place for residents of Arrowbear, Running Springs and Lucerne Valley. Evacuation centers are available to evacuees at the following locations: Big Bear High School at 351 Maple Lane in Big Bear City, Victor Valley Community College in Victorville, the Jerry Lewis Center in Highland. Please do not bring pets to Red Cross Evacuation Centers.

Highway 18 through Lucerne is open. Highway 18, down the front way, is closed to up-bound traffic, from Highway 330 to the Big Bear Dam. However, those evacuating the mountain may take Highway 18 down the mountain. Highway 38 over Onyx Summit and down to Mentone is open. The portion of Highway 38 that covers North Shore Drive is closed from the Big Bear Dam to Stanfield Cutoff, though Stanfied Cutoff is open to traffic.

The Butler #2 Fire remains the number one wildfire priority in the nation.
Reference Here>>

This from the California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection -

Butler #2 Fire:

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 16, 2007 7:00 am

Reference Here>>

SoCalMountains - Scanner and Forum Chat Excerpts -

Sunday 16 September 2007 - 10:11:15
air tanker 910 is en route to fire...

Sunday 16 September 2007 - 10:11:41
that's the big one...the BIG DOG aircraft

Sunday 16 September 2007 - 10:11:56
YAY! Tanker 910 (the DC-10) ROCKS!

Sunday 16 September 2007 - 10:14:21
watched the dc-10 go back and forth over me yesterday, it loads up at SCLA

Sunday 16 September 2007 - 10:16:44
gotta be qualified to drop the dc-10. Needing to relieve the air support person as he is now qualified to guide dc-10 in

Sunday 16 September 2007 - 10:18:53
still making drops until dc-10 comes in...4 inline coming in on right turn

Sunday 16 September 2007 - 10:19:05
Where is SCLA...the place that DC10 loads up at...

Sunday 16 September 2007 - 10:20:34
so. calif. logistics airport , west victorville or Adelanto

Sunday 16 September 2007 - 10:23:09
rotw (DC-10) Okay, I'm gonna be in there in about 10 seconds. (Response: Come on in when you're ready, and thank you.)

Sunday 16 September 2007 - 10:23:22
here comes the BD plane!!!!

Sunday 16 September 2007 - 10:25:12
working retardant from right heel to NE quad

DC10 #910 converted jet for use in doing liquid drops (water, fozcheck, retardant) on to fires. The jet is capable of placing 12,000 gallons of retardant on to a fire area covering up to approximately 8/10ths of a mile. Drop Photo Sequence - Image Credit: Roger Vieau via KBHR 93.3FM

Sunday 16 September 2007 - 10:25:42
rotw: (DC-10) How was the star point on that one, Mike? (The retardant drop) (Response: It was right on the money."

Sunday 16 September 2007 - 10:25:49
per scanner... CBS heli getting in the way...

Sunday 16 September 2007 - 10:25:56
SCLA is the former George AFB

Sunday 16 September 2007 - 10:34:11
The wind is picking up in moonridge

Sunday 16 September 2007 - 10:53:54
winds are blowing to the NE. there is still fire to the w of fawnskin

Sunday 16 September 2007 - 11:06:49
spots confirmed on Lucerne side...

Sunday 16 September 2007 - 11:25:47
Per Scanner: Someone called and said there were flames near there home. Lots of spot fires. I think this is in Lucurene, but I didn't hear exactly where. If anyone knows, let me know.

Sunday 16 September 2007 - 11:30:56
rotw...Lucerne Eng 11 seeing spots coming down in to Lucerne; should they respond or do you have engines in the area? Stand by until we can reach branch 3; have tried to reach Branch 3 but no response; got air attack coming up

Sunday 16 September 2007 - 11:51:11
per scanner ( its all we can do to hold the back of this , if we start sending stuff to the head we wont want to lose what weve got going on here - if you pull from this , were going to lose what weve got

Sunday 16 September 2007 - 12:20:13
{strike team go to?} at the intersection of 3N12 and 3N16

Sunday 16 September 2007 - 12:21:42
large snag on fire up here; no containment; unsafe for hand crews only; need air support; fire behind us at the west aspect; fire in front of us on the ridge; we need some heavy duty air support in here or this whole canyon is going to go

Big Bear Lake valley as seen looking east toward Baldwin Lake from a point above Artic Circle. The fire is burning intensely just north of Fawnskin. Image Credit: KBHR 93.3FM

UPDATE: From KBHR 93.3FM –

Butler Peak Fire Incident #2

As of 4pm Sunday, CalTrans confirms that Highway 18 is closed from Highway 330 in Running Springs to the Big Bear Dam. Terri Kasinga of CalTrans tells KBHR that the Butler #2 Fire has been burning in the Arctic Circle area, down to the highway, and there are some future concerns with regard to erosion and the consequences of that in winter weather. On Saturday afternoon, CalTrans brought in an additional 32 personnel to evacuate their equipment in the Fawnskin area. It is anticipated that Highway 18, at least on the Arctic Circle, will be closed until at least Tuesday afternoon.

Highway 38 remains closed on the North Shore, from the Big Bear Dam to the Discovery Center. All other roads, including Highway 18 to Lucerne and Highway 38 to Mentone, are open to all traffic.

In addition to this evening's 7pm meeting at the Big Bear Lake Performing Arts Center, there will be a 4pm community meeting at the Hootman Center in Running Springs.

As of 4:30pm Sunday, fire officials tells us that east of Butler Peak, along the ridge line, the fire has progressed down to Highway 18. There are fire crews on scene, to protect the road from fire damage.

Currently the winds have picked up and shifted slightly, causing two fire crew divisions working near Fawnskin to pull back to safety zones. It is not believed that the fire has moved any closer to Fawnskin, but it still remains dangerously close at one half mile from town.

According to fire personnel sources, the slight shift in wind has moved the smoke billows so that it appears that the fire has moved more than it actually has. Reports are still coming in that Butler #2 Fire smoke is blowing as far away as Las Vegas.


Butler #2 Fire acerage burn topography map as of this morning. Right-Click and Save to enlarge in your computer's viewer program. Image Credit: USDA Forest Service

This report issued by INCIWEB incident reporting center -

Butler Fire #2

Current Situation
Total Personnel 1,085
Size 15,433 acres
Percent Contained 12%

Fuels Involved
Grass, Brush, and Timber.

Fire Behavior
Active ground fire with torching.

Significant Events
Highway 18 remains closed between Running Springs and Big Bear Lake Dam.


Planned Actions
Continue to provide structure protection. Continue to construct direct and indirect line.

Projected Movement
North and East

Growth Potential

Terrain Difficulty

Highway closures--Hwy 18 is closed from Running Springs to Big Bear Dam. Drivers may not access Big Bear from Hwy 18 or from Hwy 330 in San Bernardino, but Hwy 18 is open from Apple Valley (the high desert). Drivers may also access Big Bear via Hwy 38 from I-10 in Redlands.

Areas Closed--Camp Whittle Boy Scout Camp, Big Pine Flat, Ironwood, Hanna Flat, Yellow Post campsites in the area, and Butler Peak Lookout.

Forest Road Closures--2N13, both ends of 3N14, 4N16, 3N16 at Crab Flats, Grays Peak Trailhead.

Resources on Scene--66 hand crews, 41 engines, 14 helicopters, 12 air tankers,15 dozers, and 14 watertenders.

Mandatory Community Evacuations remain in effect for the Fawnskin area from the Big Bear Dam to The Discovery Center north of Hwy 38. An evacuatiion center has been setup at the Big Bear High School in Sugarloaf.

The mandatory evacuation order has been changed to voluntary for the Green Valley Lake area.

Voluntary Evacuations remain in effect for Lucerne Valley from Crystal Creek West to High Road and North to the Pitzer Buttes area and the communities of Running Springs and Arrowbear.

Additional Red Cross evacuation shelters have been set up at the Victor Valley Community College and the Jerry Lewis Community Center in Highland.

Current Wind Conditions: 8 mph SW
Current Temperature: 58 degrees
Current Humidity: 12 %

Reference Here>>
Fire map showing the current fireline as of 6PM 9/16/07. Shows the fire threatening the outer edges of the village of Fawnskin. Image Credit: Google - Enhanced as viewed from approximately 28,000 feet

Final UPDATE For 9/16/2007 - KBHR 93.3FM -

Butler Peak Fire Incident #2

Community Fire Information Meeting to be broadcast live on 93.3FM, starting at 7:30pm.
[this can be heard at the KBHR 93.3 website as well]

Recap as of 6:30pm Sunday, September 16:

The Butler #2 Fire, which was reported just before 1:30pm on Friday, has burned 15,433 acres as of this afternoon.

Fire officials report 12% containment, and more information should be forthcoming at this evening's 7pm meeting at the Big Bear Lake Performing Arts Center (at 39707 Big Bear Boulevard).

It is not believed that the fire had moved any closer to Fawnskin, though the Butler #2 Fire burns just a half mile from the town. The slight shift in wind has moved the smoke billows, so that it appears that the fire has moved more than it actually has.

There is no immediate threat to other portions of Big Bear Valley. To date, only one structure at Camp Whittle has been lost to the fire. Mandatory evacuations remain in place for residents of Fawnskin, though residents of Green Valley Lake, Running Springs and Lucerne Valley are under a voluntary evacuation at this time.

As for the road situation, Highway 18 through Lucerne Valley and Highway 38 through Mentone are open. Highway 18 down the front way is closed to all traffic, from Running Springs to the Big Bear Dam.

A CalTrans official tells us that the Butler #2 Fire did burn to the highway in the Arctic Circle area, but crews are on scene to protect the road. At this time, it is anticipated that the Arctic Circle portion of Highway 18 will be closed until at least Tuesday afternoon. Highway 38, on the North Shore from the Big Bear Dam to North Shore West and Polique Canyon, is closed.

All schools in the Bear Valley Unified School District will be closed on Monday as a precautionary measure. Rainbow Kids Club will be open at the Big Bear Elementary site on Knickerbocker, from 7am to 6pm. Students who attend Rainbow Kids at North Shore or Baldwin Lane are welcome at the Big Bear Elementary site on Knickerbocker.

Big Bear High School is still operating as a Red Cross Evacuation Center, though an official from the Red Cross tells KBHR that the evacuation center at Victor Valley Community College will be closing this evening.

Fire officials will be addressing evacuees of the Fawnskin area at this evening's 7:30pm meeting (doors open at 7pm). The U.S. Forest Service tells us that the community meeting in Running Springs today was packed and standing room only, so we at KBHR will be bringing you this evening's meeting live, on the radio. Stay tuned to KBHR for a live broadcast of the 7:30 Fire Information Community Meeting here at 93.3 FM.

Butler II Fire Photos>>

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)


Kimmy3469 said...

Did U take your night shot from Stanfield cutoff? Kimmy

ecj said...


I found the photo on a forums page at - This photo was taken on Friday, September 14, 2007. Image Credit: Blakey via SoCalMountains Forums

Thank You, for your interest.