Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wildland Fires Rage In Running Springs - Day 3

Map of the Slide Fire that continues to threaten the villages of Deer Lick, Arrowbear, Running Springs, Snow Valley, and has hammered Smiley Park/Fredalba, and Southwest Running Springs. Image Credit: USDA Forest Service

Damage Assessed - Last Updated 10-30-2007

Per San Bernardino County: 352 Properties Destroyed, 59 Damaged;

The County of San Bernardino has released information on properties damaged or destroyed by the Slide and Grass Valley Fire.

----
The County Assessor's Office has released damage reports.
Lake Arrowhead
Green Valley Lake
Running Springs, Enchanted Forest, Smiley Park, Crab Flats

Source: http://www.co.san-bernardino.ca.us/assessor/
----


Wildland Fires Rage In Running Springs - Day 3

----

Grass Valley And Slide Fire Daily Posting Links:

SEVEN SOUTHLAND COUNTIES UNDER WILDFIRE SIEGE – DAY 1
(updates for 10-22-2007)

WILDLAND FIRE WINDS WHIP LAKE ARROWHEAD - DAY 2
(updates for 10-23-2007)

WILDLAND FIRES RAGE IN RUNNING SPRINGS - DAY 3
(updates for 10-24-2007)

WILDLAND FIRES CONTINUE IN SAN BERNARDINO – DAY 4
(updates for 10-25-2007)


WILDLAND FIRES IN SAN BERNARDINO Turn A Corner – DAY 5
(updates for 10-26-2007)

WILDLAND FIRES IN RUNNING SPRINGS SMOLDER - DAY 6
(updates for 10-27-2007)

RUNNING SPRINGS SMOLDERS DAMAGE ASSESSED - DAY 7
(updates for 10-28-2007)

----

We open up this day with the telling of a report heard and seen on FOX NEWS, told by Adam Housley as he stood in front of a burned out cabin in Running Springs. With gasline flames whipping up behind him giving off a light source that showed the silhouette of burnt Ponderosa Pines in the background, Adam told of how authorities nabbed an arsonist in the act as he attempted to flee.

The exact location is unknown, but as Adam shared, the CHP had a scouting helicopter up in the air to survey and coordinate activities on the ground. Looting had been a problem and access roads leading to the mountains had been shut down so the CHP Officer, while cruising on patrol, spotted a man near a parked Harley-Davidson motorcycle trying to light bushes on fire along the side of the mountain road. The helicopter Officer knew where the closest CHP unit in the area was working and alerted the patrol car Officer to the location of the sighting. The Patrol Officer swung into action and was able to nab the escaping arson suspect before he was able to get away and possibly light more fires.

It is not known whither or not this person is responsible for either the Grass Valley or the Slide fires now raging in the San Bernardino National Forest.

This photo provided by the European Space Agency ESA on Tuesday shows the Envisat's MERIS image, acquired on Oct. 22, of desert winds blowing smoke from wildfires in Southern California. The Grass Valley and Slide Fires smoke trail is at the very top-center of the photo. Sand is also visible being blown from Mexico's Baja California Peninsula over the Gulf of California to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Image Credit: AP/ESA via FOX NEWS

Also, it is not known if this is related to the report last posted here at MAXINE from rimoftheworld.net -

Possible Arson Suspect Arrested Near VOE
Update 9:25 PM - 10-23-2007 - ROTW

Valley of Enchantment - Firefighters and law enforcement are investigating reports of a possible arsonist between Camp Seely in Valley of Enchantment along Highway 138. According to reports, a witness saw and individual trying to start a fire, then flee. It appears that the individual was unsuccessful in the attempt. Deputies made an arrest at Highway 173 and Los Flores Ranch near Silverwood Lake at 9:19 PM.

Reference Here>>

This area is located way to the North and West of Lake Arrowhead at the base of the SB Mountains between Silverwood Lake and the Cajon Pass corridor.

Oct. 23: A scarecrow and Halloween pumpkins are seen in front of a burning house at the corner of Highway 330 and City Creek Road in Running Springs, Calif. Image Credit AP via FOX NEWS

DAMAGE TOTALS - An estimated 300 homes have been burned. - 10,000 homes remain threatened for the Grass Valley and Slide fire areas.

The last updated inciweb report issued at 2am 10-24-2007 is as follows -

Grass Valley Fire (Lake Arrowhead) - Summary

Fire northwest of Lake Arrowhead.

Mandatory evacuation areas: Crestline to Snow Valley

Voluntary Evacuations: Cedar Pines Park and Valley of Enchantment

Evacuation Center at the National Orange Show in San Bernardino and Victorville Fairgrounds in Victorville.

State Highway 18 is closed from 40th/Waterman to the Big Bear Dam

State Highway 330 is closed at Highland to Hwy 18

State Highway 138 is Closed at State Highway 173

Residents may leave via these highways (except 330) but cannot go back up into the Mountains

Basic Information
Incident Type -- Wildland Fire
Cause -- Under Investigation
Date of Origin -- 10/22/2007 at 0508 hrs.
Location -- NW of Lake Arrowhead
Incident Commander -- William Kaage

Current Situation
Total Personnel -- 523
Size -- 1,000 acres
Percent Contained 5%

Significant Events -- Resources will be shared across the Slide and Grass Valley fires.

At least 100 structures have been lost and 6000 homes remain threatened.

Oct. 23: A firefighter battles a blaze from atop his truck in Running Springs, Calif. Image Credit AP via FOX NEWS

Slide Fire - Summary

Basic Information
Incident Type -- Wildland Fire
Cause -- Under Investigation
Date of Origin -- 10/22/2007 at 0802 hrs.
Location -- Green Valley Lake, Near Running Springs
Incident Commander -- William Kaage

Current Situation
Total Personnel -- 505
Size -- 4,000 acres

Significant Events - Over 2000 people have been evacuated at the American Red Cross Evacuation center at the National Orange Show.
Planned Actions - Firefighter and public safety, structure protection and perimeter control. Crews are working on stucture protection in Smiley Park and Fredalba.
Growth Potential - Extreme
Terrain Difficulty - High

Remarks

Mandatory Evacuations for all areas from Crestline to Snow Valley. Voluntary evacuations for Highland from North of Highland Avenue, east of Hwy 330 and west of Weaver.

An estimated 200 homes have been burned. -- 4,000 homes remain threatened for the Slide fire area.

Resources on Scene -- 3 Crews, 83 engines, 31 Water Tenders.

Fire has crossed Hwy 18 on the west end of Running Springs, also it has crossed Hwy 330 in the Fredalba and Smiley Park areas.

Road Closures--All highways west of Big Bear Dam: 138, 18 and 330.

Weather
Current Wind Conditions -- 20 G 35 mph NE
Current Temperature -- 68 degrees
Current Humidity -- 13 %
Reference Here>>

This first morning report at KBHR 93.3FM -

October 24, 2007 -- Evacuation Orders -- Update as of 7am

New Mandatory evacuation orders are in effect for every community west of Snow Valley [ski area].

Mandatory evacuations remain in effect for all other communities from Crestline to Snow Valley Ski Area, including Lake Arrowhead and Cedar Glen. Mountains Community Hospital in Lake Arrowhead has been evacuated.

Voluntary evacuations are in effect for Cedar Pines Park and Valley Of Enchantment [the foothills North and East of Lake Arrowhead, Lake Gregory, and Crestline].

Picture of the Slide fire taken at 12:30pm from Lookout Point near 2N11. Snow Valley Ski Resort is on the ridge to the left. Butler Peak is to the right just out of the frame. Siberia Creek/Arctic Circle is the canyon. Image Credit: JohnnyT - Socalmountains.com

Excerpted from Socalmountains.com Scanner/Chat Forum –

Wednesday 24 October 2007 - 07:42:18
smoke is laying across the ridge tops up here in big bear by the lake, i can see it from my windows

Wednesday 24 October 2007 - 07:45:49
perscanner talk to getting units in place and where awaiting on air attack , should be there ,,, )air atack is on the fire now,

Wednesday 24 October 2007 - 07:46:54
smoke maybe circling the big bear vally its out my front window now, stay inside if you have breathing problems like me ,

Wednesday 24 October 2007 - 08:06:20
station 291 morning report big bear per scanner - xxxx just the smoke only no fire its still down in the lower comunites , the winds have changed litely to bring the smoke up here but nothing eles, this wind change is helping the fire fighters( ffs ) to get a handle on this fire, rest easy

Wednesday 24 October 2007 - 08:07:40
per scanner ( air to ground trying to do a recon at 7500 feet over the grass fire, , attempting to do that area but being hamped by the heavy smoke, - i havent been over the slide fire yet to do media, traffic and heavy smoke there too, will do when i can

Wednesday 24 October 2007 - 08:19:42
Fire is heading to Butler peak again

Wednesday 24 October 2007 - 08:22:33
to all there is a major fire break from arrowbear to the big bear dam= and butler peak from the dc 10 that made special drops just for us to protect us with retardant just in case worst case wind change

Wednesday 24 October 2007 - 08:26:51
hm this has been happening for years new crews said tuesday the fire in lake arrowhead and on monday it was 70% contained , hello no 0% containement now you know why i say this their info is wrong ,

Wednesday 24 October 2007 - 08:30:01
I think the Highland folks might want to know this information per scanner:" It looks like the southern end of that is down into Plunge (Creek) in section 8; adjacent to and West of Mount R. That's the only slop over on the southern aspect. Doesn't look to be much below Smiley Park. " -- That is about 5 miles Northwest of Highland

Wednesday 24 October 2007 - 08:36:42
from ROTW msg board -- "WakeBoarder: Was up in the area yesterday, Tues 10/23. North end of Brentwood, Trinity, Modoc, Merced suffered huge damge. Fire movedinto the National Forest after that. From waht I saw, no homes on Fairway west of brentwood, Spyglass and Cypress were lost. 2 homes on the western end of wlanut hill were lost"

Wednesday 24 October 2007 - 08:45:12
per LIVE Ch. 5....DC-10 too smoky in Arrowhead...going to SD

Wednesday 24 October 2007 - 08:45:29
Per AirOps in Victorville: The DC10 is going to the Harris Fire along Mexican Border. There is too much smoke at Slide and Grass Valley fire.

Wednesday 24 October 2007 - 08:46:46
ROTW: Enchanted Forest is clear. Went up and down all the streets.


For those concerned about Green Valley Lake homes, here is a map that shows which streets have severe damage (in Red) and which streets remained unscathed (in Blue). [right-click & copy to enlarge in computer viewer] Image Credit: CFang_in_UK - Socalmountains.com

This update excerpted from KBHR 93.3FM news website –

Type II Incident Management Team Now Overseeing Slide & Grass Valley Fires -- Update as of 9am

The Slide Fire, in the Green Valley Lake and Running Springs area, and the Grass Valley Fire, in the Arrowhead area, continue to burn but there is still no immediate threat to the Big Bear Valley.

As of yesterday evening, Incident Command on the fires is being overseen by a Type II national incident management team, with a Type I team due in today, to oversee fire suppression efforts on the Slide Fire, which, as of this morning, has over 500 firefighting personnel on scene.
----
Voluntary evacuations are also in effect for Cedar Pines Park and Valley of Enchantment and the City of Highland, between Highway 330 and Weaver Avenue, north of Highland Avenue.

Per fire officials, mountain residents ordered to evacuate and in need of shelter are advised to go the Victorville Fairgrounds at 14800 7th Street in Victorville. This center is accepting people and horses. To access the fairgrounds, evacuees can take Highway 18 downbound to Highway 138 to the 15 North, then exit at Palmdale.

For Big Bear residents, Highway 18 through Lucerne Valley and Highway 38 through Mentone both remain open.

Latest reports from Incident Command on the Slide and Grass Valley Fires tell us that 4,000 acres have burned on the Slide Fire, which has resulted in the loss of approximately 200 homes in the Running Springs and Green Valley areas. The Grass Valley Fire is now at 5% containment with 1,000 acres burned and at least 100 structures lost.

Though there is no immediate threat to Big Bear communities, residents may want to take this opportunity to continue clearing defensible space around homes. The City of Big Bear Lake continues the Neighborhood Chipping Program at the west end of Big Bear Valley, for all neighborhoods west of Delamar and Tamarack through Sunday, October 28.


Slide Fire as of 2am 10-24-2007 - Image Credit: ROTW

Excerpted from Socalmountains.com Scanner/Chat Forum –

Wednesday 24 October 2007 - 09:16:49
any word on the Nordic area? My sis lives there. Scandia

Wednesday 24 October 2007 - 09:23:54
She just told me that it is called the Nordic Tract, specifically Scandia, across the hwy from Hoffman Elementary School

Wednesday 24 October 2007 - 09:38:47
air craft is flying over the slide fire * arrowbear and doing drops of water and retardant , per scanner talk and visible

Wednesday 24 October 2007 - 09:42:52
rotw: Eye witness as of 7pm last night - Heavy burning all along the narrows area of Running Springs(this is off Hunsaker Drive and Deep Creek Dr - north of town). Most all of Fredalba and Smiley Park and the area of the church has been destroyed.

Wednesday 24 October 2007 - 09:46:19
superfire( the winds have died down up here but still active down below, , super scooper is up here working on the slide fire, along with 6 air tankers working it behavior cant really say excpt heavy smoke drifting all over i know thats not what you asked but thas all i have right now

Wednesday 24 October 2007 - 09:52:13
per the pilot of the dc 10 its possible the when the winds change later this afternoon , its possible he will be back up here working .. well see

Wednesday 24 October 2007 - 09:52:26
rotw: {missed part of this - fire is starting to pick up again, ridge near Green Valley Lake it's now about 1/3 of the way down from the top of the ridge; no air support on it yet - heard the words "Snow Valley" in that conversation but don't know how they related}

Wednesday 24 October 2007 - 10:06:31
Channel 4 reporter on telephone from Artic Circle. Fire is burning between Arrowbear and Butler Peak. No houses in line of fire. Not of concern to Big Bear or Arrowbear right now.

Wednesday 24 October 2007 - 10:14:37
The SuperScooper just got permission to scoop out of BBL.

This Excerpted from ROTW incidents -
10:29 AM Source: other
Phone interview with USFS PIO, John Miller - The westward movement of the slide fire has stalled just to the east of the dump on the ridge with the towers. Damage assessment teams have started in the Grass Valley area and are moving east. They will release damage maps as soon as they are complete. They should have some detail. The fire in Green Valley Lake has moved down towards 18 and Snow Valley, less than 1/4 mile from road. Heavy activity in the Fedalba, Smiley Park area with heavy damage. Fire has traveled east under the south side of RS to the Rimwood Ranch area there will be a briefing at the Orange Show Evacuation Center for the Crestline area later today but no time as of yet. Super scooper aircraft and helo's will be working the fires and more resources are moving in from out of state and from Canada.

Reference Here>>

We, at MAXINE, do not know if this answers the question posed about the integrity of the “Nordic Tract” … but the phrase “Fire has traveled east under the south side of RS to the Rimwood Ranch area” would give me pause. We will keep our eyes peeled as to information concerning this area near Hoffman Elementary School.

Smoke fills the sky Tuesday evening over Lake Arrowhead. Image Credit: Stan Lim / The Press-Enterprise

Excerpted from Socalmountains.com Scanner/Chat Forum –

Wednesday 24 October 2007 - 11:03:48
My Brother who is a Firefighter seen the man and Detained him till CHP took him away
----

This confirms what I just saw over at the Corvette Forum on the story referenced by Adam Housley from FOX NEWS at the beginning of this day’s posting -

Police caught Arsonist attemping to start fire in San Bernardino Mountains
Posted By: Petew1971 - CF Senior Member

Yesterday in the evening some *!@#% on a motorcycle was trying to start a fire in the Valley of Enchantment, Crestline area. If he would have been successful the fire would have come at us from the East and headed into the Other fires, it would have completely wiped us out. Some eye witnesses saw this scumbag and held him until officers could arrive.


So, this evidence would suggest that the two accounts relate to one event featuring only one ARSON suspect.

Excerpted from Socalmountains.com Scanner/Chat Forum –

Wednesday 24 October 2007 - 11:10:36
ROTW: ...RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 PM PDT TODAY FOR GUSTY NORTHEAST WINDS AND LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITIES THROUGH AND BELOW PASSES AND CANYONS AND FOR LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITIES FOR MOST REMAINING INLAND AREAS EXCEPT FOR THE DESERTS... CORRECTION TO HEADLINES. .DISCUSSION... SANTA ANA WINDS WILL GRADUALLY DECREASE IN COVERAGE AND INTENSITY TODAY WITH THE TYPICAL DIURNAL INCREASE IN COVERAGE AND STRENGTH EARLY THIS MORNING. HOWEVER...OFFSHORE WINDS ARE EXPECTED TO BE SIGNIFICANTLY WEAKER AND LESS WIDESPREAD THAN THE PAST FEW DAYS. AS THE SANTA ANA DIMINISHES...THERE WILL BE AN INCREASED POTENTIAL FOR ERRATIC WINDS AND LOCAL EFFECTS NEAR THE WILDFIRES.


This Excerpted from ROTW incidents –
11:28 AM Source: other From: via email - thank you
Was in Running Springs between 2pm and 5pm. FYI... Town was fine, but it was burning heavily behind Don's Garage. Traveling south from behind town, many structures were on fire all the way to the Korean retreat and near the Castle (although these structures were NOT on fire at the time). Homes between HWY 18 and Sunset, up and down the hill to City Creek rd were in tact at 3PM. Homes along Panorama Drive as of 3PM were fine, with lots of thick smoke from above HWY 18 and burning up the hill from below HWY 330. {Note: Personal THANK YOU from RS transcriber for the info on Panorama Drive.}

11:54 AM Source: other
Phone interview with USFS PIO John Miller - Person was arrested in VOE last night for arson, he was observed in the act and was followed by chopper to a house and arrested by SO. He is now named as a person of interest in the other fires according to CHP PIO Fernandez.


01:42 PM Source: other From: via email - thank you (Excellent
We had a confirmation from a fire fighter that Overhill Drive and Onacrest Drive in Running Springs is in pretty good shape. There was property damage toward the east ends of those roads, but the majority of the homes on those streets were in good shape as of 8:00 last night (Tuesday night).

01:43 PM Source: other From: via email - thank you (Excellent
Arrowhead Villas update - A friend of mine, associated with the fire service is still in the Arrowhead Villas and reports that the skies directly above are blue and there is only some misty smoke in the air. The area seems to be intact.

01:46 PM Source: scanner From: via email - thank you (Excellent
I have been in contact w/Don's Towing in Running Springs (The Village) a few times today as my parents have a house on 31930 Pine Cone Dr. The representative at Don's Towing has been in close contact with a CHP Officer who they work with on a regular basis (w/towing incidents) and she assured me that Pine Cone Dr. (just behind the town of Running Springs & Jensen's Market) is ok and NO damage has been reported. {Transcriber's note: yesterday there were reports of an address on Pine Cone that was in imminent danger. This is excellent news that there has been no damage.}

01:55 PM Source: scanner
we have a spot fire coming up Pine Cone, Mountain View, cross of View, right behind the Motel just to the west of that other spot there (Bus Stop) on 18; threatening homes

02:08 PM Source: eyewitness
The following homes were lost in Lake Arrowhead. This is from a resident who remained on the mountain and surveyed the area (thanks) Brentwood: 748,756,764,768,772,781,792,796,723,787,798,832,838 and all houses between 759 and 787 759 is not burned and is not inclusive in that list for Brentwood, 787 is burnt Trinity Drive: beyond 929 looked to be all burnt, couldnt drive up in too far

02:44 PM Source: scanner
There's a hot spot on Pine Cone close to Preston. Closest spot was between Don's Garage and Jubilee's house. Lot of spots down to Canon Way. Need you to go take a look.

02:55 PM Source: other From: via email - THANK YOU
Took a drive (at about 11:30 am) over to Twin Peaks to check on specific addresses for three friends.

We turned right onto Walnut Hills and followed it all the way until it turns into Spyglass and continued along Spyglass until it comes out onto Fairway. All good except the home at 26150 Walnut Hills was badly damaged and the home next door to it (on the same side of the street but with a lower street number) was burned to the round.

From Spyglass and Fairway all looked fine, but the fire appeared to have burned the forest right up to the backyards of the homes along the north side of this stretch of Fairway.

From Fairway we turned north onto Brentwood, then north onto Sonoma, crossing Sutter. The houses on east side of Sonoma look ok, on both the north and south sides of this part of Sutter (at its southern intersection with Sonoma).

We crossed Placer, and things still looked ok. There continued to be charred trees on the west side of Sonoma but the houses (which are on the east side) seem ok.

We crossed the intersection with the northern end of Sutter. One house on the left (west) looks gone, just north of the northern intersection. across the street from 715 Sonoma. The houses on the right (east) side of Sonoma look ok, including 715, 725, and 735 Sonoma. The next house on the left also looks ok. In fact, everything looks ok for a while.

We crossed Amador (on the left), staying on Sonoma, and things continued to look ok.

The most heavily damaged area that we saw began just north of 875 Sonoma (which was still standing). The homes at 899, 905, 915, 935, 945, and 955 Sonoma all burned to the ground. These are all on the east side of the street. The next house to the north appeared to be ok (I didn't get its number), but another structure to the north (perhaps just a parking deck or garage?) was burned. Powerlines were down across the road, but the fire crew that was there said it was ok to drive across them.

We crossed Amador again, farther north. It looked like several houses were gone on this part of Amador, to the east of Black Oaks Drive (Sonoma turned into Black Oaks). We crossed Windward, the houses seem ok

We crossed Black Oaks Court on the left (west) side of Black Oaks Drive and did
not notice any damaged homes, although we did not drive into the court. The four houses at the north end of Black Oaks drive (two on each side of the street, 1025, 1031, 1034 and one other) looked undamaged.

We passed quite a few fire men and law enforcement officers, but no one stopped us or asked what we were doing. Grandview and Brentwood both had "road closed" signage at their north ends, but there didn't seem to be anyone enforcing this.

03:03 PM Source: other From: via email - Thank you
Fire raging on south side of Running Springs, across from 76 station and The Bus Stop according to first hand account of resident. Working its way toward Canyon Park.

03:13 PM Source: scanner
have a new assignment for you; come into Running Springs, turn onto Mountain View there by Jensens; go back to Pine Cone and come down to Preston. It's coming around and going to bump up against town again.

This update from KBHR 93.3FM news website –

Hesperia Man Arrested for Arson Last Night, for Brush Fire Off Highway 173

We have just received word from the California Highway Patrol, that John Alfred Rund of Hesperia has been arrested for arson. Here is the complete text of the CHP press release, sent to KBHR today:

On October 23, 2007 at approximately 8:50 pm, CHP Officer Chris Denkers and Officer Bill Hatcher from the Victorville CHP area were assigned to a wildfire traffic control post on SR-173 at Arrowhead Lake Road. Both Officers were informed by a witness that a brush fire was starting on SR-173 south of Arrowhead Lake Road.

Officer Denkers contacted the Barstow Communication Center and responded to the scene, where he observed four individuals attempting to extinguish the brush fire by using shovels and dirt. Witnesses at the scene informed Officer Denkers that a suspicious individual was seen squatting down near the point of origin and left the scene on a Honda motorcycle. The individual was wearing a red and white striped helmet.

CHP helicopter H-80 piloted by Officer Rowland Barry and Flight Officer Mike Adams immediately responded to the scene and began an aerial search using infrared equipment. A responding San Bernardino County Fire Engine advised that the motorcycle was heading toward the road closure on SR-173 at SR-138. Officer Barry spotted the motorcycle and followed it into an address on SR-173.

The helicopter crew then directed CHP and San Bernardino County Sheriff's personnel to the location where they made contact with the subject.

After further investigation, John Alfred Rund, 48 (DOB: 01/21/59) from Hesperia, was arrested for arson.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Bomb/Arson Detail, along with San Bernardino County Fire Department, will be conducting an arson investigation. The investigation is ongoing and it is unknown if John Rund is connected to any other fire in San Bernardino County, as the cause of those fires has not been determined.

The outcome of this arrest is due to the combined efforts of local concerned citizens along with the multi-agency law enforcement presence in the San Bernardino mountains.

San Bernardino County Supervisor Dennis Hansberger received the news of the arrest and said, “I am heartened to hear of the arrest and pleased that we are remaining diligent to bring about safety in our county.”


Martin Mars - This is the Tanker that will be here tomorrow -- Its a super scooper type. The 7000 gallon tanker will be here tomorrow!!! – Image Credit: Aviation Trivia via Socalmountains.com

Smoke Expected in Bear Valley; Grass Valley Fire Now 30% Contained; Winds Push Slide Fire Southwest; Big Bear Safe -- Update as of 5pm

There will be smoke in the Big Bear Valley this evening, but we can report to you, with assurance, that there is still no imminent threat to the Big Bear area resulting from the Slide Fire and Grass Valley Fire.

John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service tells KBHR this evening, “Right now, we do not feel that there is a threat to Big Bear, but residents of Big Bear Valley can expect heavy smoke.” This smoke, rising in our direction, is in part because the Santa Ana winds are diminishing and, also, due to an inversion layer, per fire officials.
----
The Slide Fire, burning in the Running Springs area has been active, but is moving in a southwest direction, away from the Big Bear Valley. All sources confirm that the two fires have not merged.

The Slide Fire, we're told, has also not reached the burn areas of the Butler and Butler #2 Fires from September. As further reassurance, Miller tells KBHR, “There are over 21 square miles of recently burned vegetation that sits between Fawnskin and the Slide Fire. The recently burned areas could be a benefit in slowing any progress from the other fires.”

Though updated numbers have not yet been available in terms of structure loss on the Slide and Grass Valley Fires, we can expect some updated information on Thursday. Tom Kempton at Incident Command tells us that because the Grass Valley Fire has slowed some today, crews are in the area to do mop up work around burned structures, and anticipate being able to present a count of burned homes on Thursday.

At this time, the count remains at at least 100, with an additional 6,000 structures still threatened. The Grass Valley Fire is now reported as 30% contained, with nearly 550 firefighters assigned, including 99 engines. One thousand plus acres have burned in the Grass Valley Fire.

The Slide Fire, which has been more active today, has been burning vigorously in the Running Springs and Fredalba area, though aircraft crews have continued water drops in an effort to save the downtown area of Running Springs. Current tallies reflect that over 10,150 acres have burned on this fire, at least 200 homes have been lost, and there is no estimation of containment at this time. Over 550 firefighting personnel are assigned to the Slide Fire.
When we spoke with Firefighter Kempton earlier today, he noted that the fires are wind-driven and that “combustible materials around homes have made a difference.”

Though the Slide and Grass Valley Fires do not pose an immediate threat to the Big Bear area, we do recommend that you maintain defensible space around your home, including the clearing of pine needles and roofline gutters.

Highway 18 through Lucerne Valley does remain open, as does Highway 38. Per official sources at the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, CalTrans, the U.S. Forest Service and the California Highway Patrol, access on Highway 38 is open to all traffic, though we do suggest that those leaving the mountain during fire season carry proof of residence. Still, Officer Gary Fernandez with the CHP tells KBHR, “The back roads to Big Bear are wide open. There is no checkpoint.

”So, to recap, the Grass Valley Fire has been less active today and is now 30% contained, the Slide Fire continues to burn in a southwest direction, and at this time, there is no indication that the Big Bear Valley is in any immediate danger due to these fires burning in mountain communities to the west.

END OF DAY










1 comment:

Ryan said...

Looking for a status on the Spyglass, Fairway, St. Andrews area. Any information would be appreciated.