Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Thunderboomers Tuesday – Butler II Fire

Butler Peak Fire Incident #2 (Butler II) as seen in this compilation graphic where a topographic map is overlaid with an infrared imaging shot of the firelines as they were at 14:00 hours on Monday (9-17-2007). Image Credit: Jerry B - SoCalMountains

Thunderboomers Tuesday – Butler II Fire

Yesterday was a good day. The winds did not wreak havoc with the state of the current firelines, the firefighters around Fawnskin were able to beat back the fire from within 1/2 mile of the cabin structures to 21/2 miles back while creating defensible space around cabins … an arson suspect was taken into custody … a forestry service spotterplane working the firelines had engine trouble and was able to make an emergency ditch landing in a open field behind the motorcycle manufacturing facility owned by Big Bear Choppers and the pilot survived a little shaken ... Green Valley Lake seems to be out of trouble and the residents might be able to return today.

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 and is in good shape - Image Credit: SKYPROS - SoCalMountains Chat/Forums

Judging from the morning reports, BBL and the firefighters may be in for another good day here on day five.

This morning update from KBHR 93.3FM begins well -

Butler Peak Fire Incident #2
Update as of 6am Tuesday, September 18:

The Butler Fire #2 is 14,039 acres and 53% contained. 2,505 personnel are assigned to the fire. The projected movement of the fire is Northeast with extreme growth potential. Mandatory evacuations remain in effect for the community of Fawnskin. The evacuation center has been moved from Big Bear High School to the Pine Summit Christian Camp at 700 Wren Drive in Big Bear Lake. There WILL be school today in the Bear Valley Unified School District. SR-18 is closed from Running Springs east to the Big Bear Dam and Little Arctic Circle at the West end of Big Bear Lake.

Reference Here>>

CDF Hotshots hitting the ground, watering. Image Credit: SUPERFIRE84 - SoCalMountains Chat/Forums

Morning Update from the California Department of Forestry (CDF):

Butler #2 Fire:
Name: Butler #2 Fire
County: San Bernandino County
Administrative Unit: San Bernandino National Forest
Status/Notes: 53% contained - 14,039 acres - North of Big Bear
Date Started: September 14, 2007 1:51 pm
Last update: September 18, 2007 7:30 am

Reference Here>>

USDA Forestry truck hitting the flames with a “side shooter”. Image Credit: SUPERFIRE84 - SoCalMountains Chat/Forums

Excerpts From SoCalMountains Chat/Forums –

Tuesday 18 September 2007 - 08:39:08
Good Morning everyone. Fawnskin is still standing, but it is a little smokey. I hear from my FF buddies that the evac order maybe lifted by tomorrow depending on how the work goes today. For everyone that has a cabin or home in the Fawnskin area, I have driven the area and everybody is fine.

Tuesday 18 September 2007 - 08:42:27
morning everyone , strong haze this end of the valley and probley all thru the valley super strong smoke smell - per scanner talk about placing people here and there and whats going where

Tuesday 18 September 2007 - 08:51:16
aa per scanner no visability below 3.ooo feet due to cloud cover,

Tuesday 18 September 2007 - 08:56:47
xxx - yes, the folks here in the desert were talking about a fire in Twin Peaks. The ROTW scanner talk is about a fire in Crestline and one in Lake Gregory. Both pretty much under control.

Tuesday 18 September 2007 - 09:23:40
aa per ops ( dc10 not coming in, we see no need for it ,

Tuesday 18 September 2007 - 09:24:36
aa per scanner , (we can get another heavie in here by the dam to reinforce that , if we cant get the heavie a medium will work just as good - sounds good

CDF Hotshots lighting backfires. Image Credit: SUPERFIRE84 - SoCalMountains Chat/Forums

Tuesday 18 September 2007 - 09:27:33
have you heard any info on if its taking up any more acreage in the green valley lake area?

Tuesday 18 September 2007 - 09:28:16
fire is looking good from my vantage point , no plum hardly at all compared to yesterday - we have some green heavy torching on the south west corner
[GVL] , per scanner

California Department of Forestry Hotshots doing what they do best. Image Credit: SUPERFIRE84 - SoCalMountains Chat/Forums

Tuesday 18 September 2007 - 10:14:05
per scanner everyone is talk about single smokes minor flare ups in the retardant area of the fire , nothing major happening fire is looking super good ,

Tuesday 18 September 2007 - 11:09:53
fire has crested the lake side of north shore aa is hitting this hot and heavy just came from out side we are watching the helos come in hot and heavy very noisy over here, the fire is about 1/4 of the way down , putting up lots of whte smoke, ffs are working heavy and doing the best they can its still a ways away from homes

Fire creeps down upon Artic Circle Monday (9-17-07). This activity will last long after the fire is out in that rocks, boulders, and loose trees will find their way to the highway below ... and traffic. Image Credit: Blakey - SoCalMountains Chat/Forums

Tuesday 18 September 2007 - 11:11:23
dc 10 made 3 drops where the fire has crested this is looks to be greys peak from my area

Tuesday 18 September 2007 - 11:14:24
Hi everyone! Update from weather: Heavy wiinds tom. with heavy precip. expected Fri and Sat. Hopefully everything will hold and the ff's can get a good grip on this monster before the winds! The map was really good! Thanks!

Tuesday 18 September 2007 - 11:15:37
is the containment still at 53%?

Tuesday 18 September 2007 - 11:18:15
aa is still hitting this area hot and heavy,, the fire is still putting up lots of heavy white smoke with occasionally black mixed in, not moving fast repeat not moving fast,

aa per scanner ( will keep putting water on this side
north shore greys peak - to keep it from rolling ..

Tuesday 18 September 2007 - 11:26:11
Weather - Really is no front with this system so it's basing on orographical
lift aka the mountains lifting up the low level air up the slopes for rain into the cold, -22 celcius air at 18,000 Feet for storms Friday. Showery type, off and on / hit and miss type.

Tuesday 18 September 2007 - 11:40:48
ok just came from walkng down to the lake, the 2 (( yellow bananas)) are working this fire droping water on this fire on greys peak, white smoke showing they are doing back to back drops to slow things down

Tuesday 18 September 2007 - 12:01:55
I was just out near Pineknot and I gotta say that the fire area looks way, WAY better!!!

Tuesday 18 September 2007 - 12:07:42
guess that is grey's peak in cam, all this time I thought it was on lagonita point. glad I only put my foot 1/2 way in my mouth, sorry p.s. when this fire is over i want start a real fight, windy point is where the camara is (gilner point) always was untill in the 60's a map showed the name to far out in the lake, place they call windy point is actualy shelter cover (the place they filled in to build the houses, next to roy rogers house) ask any fisherman, guess i started the fight already

Tuesday 18 September 2007 - 12:13:00
Ch 7 is saying Snow at 7000 on Thur and down to 6000 on Fri it is at 50% chance this would be great so be shure to prep your homes for the cold.
Tuesday 18 September 2007 - 12:27:29
one of the guys in a plane has a infrared camera that pickes up the hot spots on the mountain and this is where the helos are dropping at with his guilding them in to the target spots

Tuesday 18 September 2007 - 12:34:51
ROTW 12:32: {ROTW developing story} Tankers are currently on hold at the air bases. "This looks like a helicopter show right now," said Air Command. "Just call us if you need [the tankers]."

Tuesday 18 September 2007 - 12:35:31
aa per scanner fire is really looking good - we have 2 scouts out looking for any hot spots, and little bity spots showing up but nothing major ,

Tuesday 18 September 2007 - 12:39:50
both one man in the plane has a camera for hot spots once he pin points it then he can relate to the other aa where to drop especially thru the smoke

Tuesday 18 September 2007 - 12:40:16
sorry not lazer i just relized what i had said verbal only

Tuesday 18 September 2007 - 12:42:23
aa is still talking to the helos about where to drop , some times the talk is alittle left and there you go , or you missed and lets try this again and then its roger this or copy that

Tuesday 18 September 2007 - 13:02:34
fawnskin is looking good , i dont see any real smokes in that are at all

Tuesday 18 September 2007 - 13:10:43
what is going on from the dam to windy point on the north shore?

Tuesday 18 September 2007 - 13:16:23
I was down at Boulder Bay earlier. There is a good view from the park as well as along the Boulevard at the drive-in (Spencer Real Estate).

They have painted a significant retardant line above the cabins on the north shore.

I am extremely impressed with the progress that they have made!!

Noon Update From KBHR 93.3FM –

Update as of noon on Tuesday, September 18:

The Butler #2 Fire remains the number one priority wildland fire incident in the nation again today, which is why we have national Incident Management Team I overseeing fire suppression. As first priority, we have tremendous air support on scene.

Type I crews have also continued to join fire suppression efforts—these Type I teams have been working all summer, battling blazes in Montana and Idaho, and are now stationed here.
As of this morning, Incident Command reports 53% containment on the fire, which is a significant increase from yesterday's 12%. Though acreage was estimated at 15,433 yesterday, updated reports tell us that 14,039 total acres have burned.

Monday evening, some spot fires burned on the east side of the peak just off Highway 38 near Fawnskin, which accounts for the smoky area in the foreground when looking toward Windy Point. According to ICM Team I's Information Officer Pete Jankowski, who is the Fire Chief for the City of Laverne, crews established containment lines around those spot fires last night.
At this time, he tells KBHR, the burn area is now ¼ mile from the community of Fawnskin though, again, those containment lines were successfully established last night. Firefighters are aggressively maintaining structure protection, and crews are stationed along Highway 38 (on the North Shore) and Highway 18 in the Arctic Circle area.

Today, 64 of the 68 hand crews on scene are Type I crews. These highly qualified teams, some of which are Hot Shot crews, can attack the fire directly and are able to get into the rugged terrain that has proved daunting for fire suppression. If needed, these Type I crews can engage in coyote tactics, meaning they can work a 16-hour shift and stay at the scene, as air supply can deliver water, food and sleeping bags to them, and they are prepared to stay on scene for 24 hours. At this time, coyote tactics have not yet been implemented for these teams of 20 and, on strike teams, groups of 40.

Type II hand crews are equally important in the effort, as they are providing residential support in Fawnskin, creating defensible space, and are involved in hand-line construction. Smaller engines and hand crews are at work in the direct attack in the area of Highway 38 and Fawnskin.

Fire officials report that there is incoming low pressure, weather-wise, and they do expect winds tomorrow, so aggressive containment with the 2,505 firefighting personnel at work on the Butler #2 Fire continues.

There has been no loss of homes in the Fawnskin area. Highway 18 remains closed, from the Big Bear Dam to Running Springs.

Road update: The Little Arctic Circle portion of Highway 18, from Talbot (in Boulder Bay) to the Big Bear Dam, has reopened this morning. Highway 18, from the Big Bear Dam to Running Springs, remains closed to all traffic. No word yet when the roadway will reopen. To clarify for those of you coming up the mountain, the portion of Highway 38 from Mentone to Big Bear City remains unaffected by the fire, and is safe for travel. Highway 18 through Lucerne Valley is also open to traffic.

Retardant Stripes - This shot is for the folks on here who have expressed concern for their cabins in the Pine Oak area by the dam. Photo was taken today, 9/18, about 1:00 p.m. - photo shows the rather impressive retardant line to the west and the north of the cabins in this area. Image Credit: Maggie - SoCalMountains Chat/Forums

At MAXINE, we have been in and out all day but keeping tabs on the developments ... the main impression is that the fire crews are having great success in all areas save for Grey's Peak where the fire continues to be very stubborn.

Evening Update From KBHR 93.3FM –

Update/recap as of 5pm Tuesday, September 18:
Over 2,500 fire personnel have been hard at work today, protecting homes, dumping water and retardant on hot spots, and enforcing containment lines around the Butler #2 Fire. Containment remains at 53% and total acreage burned is still at 14,039 on the fire, which remains the number one priority wildland fire incident in the nation.

When we flew over the fire zone this afternoon, we did notice a hot spot on the ridge between Windy Point and the Big Bear Dam, and aggressive air drops of water and fire retardant have been underway, with as many as 23 helicopters at work at fire suppression today. Much of the fire to the north has been smoldering, and the portion off Highway 18 at Arctic Circle is being suppressed at the roadway, given the steep terrain. Highway 18, by the way, will remain closed from the Big Bear Dam to Running Springs until further notice.

Yesterday evening, some spot fires burned on the east side of the peak just off Highway 38 near Fawnskin though ICM Team I's Information Officer Pete Jankowski assures us that containment lines were successfully established last night.

We just spoke with John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service, who has been at Station 49 in Fawnskin this afternoon. He says, “It was a really good day for us.

There was no big swing in the weather, which allowed crews to do what they need to do.” He assures us that firefighting personnel that aren't directly attacking the blaze are busy doing preventative work around homes and in neighborhoods from the Big Bear Dam to the Discovery Center. All homes in the Fawnskin area remain safe and intact. Handcrews are among those creating defensible space by raking pine needles, removing flammable material near homes, and doing some brush work. Miller adds that they are going to continue to do this--especially in anticipation of winds tomorrow, crews are doing all the fire preventative work they can do today.

Before signing off, Miller did want to add the following: “On behalf of all firefighters, we are very appreciative of the outpouring of support from the residents of Big Bear Valley. We even talked about it in our briefing this morning, and we are just beside ourselves with the generosity from the community.”

Update as of 7pm Tuesday, September 18:
The report as of this evening is 86% containment, per the Incident Management Team's Pete Jankowski. He also tells KBHR that great progress was made in the Fawnskin and Arctic Circle areas. Other good news from the fire scene is that the voluntary evacuation for Green Valley Lake residents has been lifted this evening.
Reference Here>>

Final Report From INCIWEB for Tuesday -

Butler Peak Fire Incident #2 (Butler II Fire)

Current Situation:
As Of 18:00 PST 9-18-2007

Total Personnel - 2,346

Size - 14,039 acres

Percent Contained - 86%

Fuels Involved - Grass, Brush, and Timber.

Fire Behavior:
Minimum fire activity, no fire spread today. A lot of rolling material onto Hwy 18.
Significant Events

Significant progress made with line construction today. Evacution for Green Valley, Running Springs, Arrowbear Lake, Lucerne Valley lifted today at 18:00

Planned Actions:
Continue line construction, hold existing line, provide structure protection where needed.

Projected Movement:

Growth Potential:

Terrain Difficulty:

Remarks -

Highway closures:
Hwy 18 remains 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:
69 hand crews, 164 engines, 17 helicopters, 12 fixed wing aircraft,8 dozers, and 28 watertenders.

Mandatory Community Evacuations remain in effect for the Fawnskin area from the Big Bear Dam to The Discovery Center north of Hwy 38. The evacuatiion center has been moved to Pine Summit Christian Camp at 700 Wren Drive in Big Bear Lake.

Voluntary Evacuations lifted for Green Valley Lake, Lucerne Valley, Running Springs and Arrowbear.

Current Wind Conditions - 1 - 11 mph NW
Current Temperature - 73 degrees
Current Humidity - 20 %

This is very good news indeed - the fire fighters moved the containment from 53% to 86% today and no structures lost. With the weather growing cooler over the next few days with a 50% chance of rain (and maybe even snow above 6,000 feet) this fire may be in control.


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:

Anonymous said...

A little information for you... CDF (now known as Cal Fire) does not have hotshot crews. Their closest thing to a hotshot crew is the inmate crews pictured below in all orange. The picture listed as CDF hotshots backfiring is actualy a U.S. Forest Service employee. If they're wearing green pants their Forest Service not CDF. And in typical situations hotshots will not be running a hose from an engine. Thanks