Tag Archives: CA fire updates

After California’s 3rd-largest wildfire, deer returned home while trees were ‘still smoldering’ | Corona, CA

Michelle Ma – UW News | October 28, 2021

When a massive wildfire tears through a landscape, what happens to the animals?

While many animals have adapted to live with wildfires of the past — which were smaller, more frequent and kept ecosystems in balance across the West — it’s unclear to scientists how animals are coping with today’s unprecedented megafires. More than a century of fire suppression coupled with climate change has produced wildfires that are now bigger and more severe than before.

In a rare stroke of luck, researchers from the University of Washington, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, Santa Barbara, were able to track a group of black-tailed deer during and after California’s third-largest wildfire, the 2018 Mendocino Complex Fire. The megafire, which torched more than 450,000 acres in northern California, burned across half of an established study site, making it possible to record the movements and feeding patterns of deer before, during and after the fire. The results were published Oct. 28 in the journal Ecology and Evolution.

“We don’t have much information on what animals do while the flames are burning, or in the immediate days that follow after wildfires,” said co-lead author Kaitlyn Gaynor, a postdoctoral researcher at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis at UC Santa Barbara. “It was kind of a happy accident that we were able to see what these animals were doing during the wildfire and right after, when it was still just a desolate landscape.”

The researchers were surprised by what they learned. Of the 18 deer studied, all survived. Deer that had to flee the flames returned home, despite some areas of the landscape being completely burned and void of vegetation to eat. Most of the deer returned home within hours of the fire, while trees were still smoldering.

Having access to this location information — from previously placed wildlife cameras and GPS collars — is rare when studying how animals respond to extreme and unpredictable events, like megafires.

“There are very few studies that aim to understand the short-term, immediate responses of animals to wildfires. When a fire sweeps through and dramatically changes the landscape, its impact in those initial days is undervalued and absent in the published literature,” said co-lead author Samantha Kreling, a doctoral student at the UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences.

The study took place northwest of Sacramento at the University of California’s Hopland Research and Extension Center, where the researchers were studying the movements of black-tailed deer. Before the Mendocino Complex Fire started, the team had placed tracking collars on 18 deer and positioned several dozen motioned-activated wildlife cameras across the area.

On July 27, 2018, the research team based in Hopland saw smoke nearby. Within hours, they were told to leave immediately and not return to the property, as large flames swept through. In total, a little over half of the research center’s land was burned by the Mendocino Complex Fire that was, at the time, California’s largest wildfire.

Kreling, who needed data from the site for her senior-year undergraduate thesis at UC Berkeley, decided to pivot — or, in the words of her collaborators, “turn lemons into lemonade.” The wildlife tracking technology and photos allowed Kreling and co-authors instead to look at how deer change their use of space during and immediately after large disturbances like wildfires, and how this event influenced their body condition and survival.

“Seeing the drastic changes on the landscape got me wondering what it’s like for animals on the land to actually deal with the repercussions of having an event like this sweep through,” Kreling said. “Having the infrastructure in place was very useful to see what happened before, compared to what happened after.”

Despite the challenges of having little to eat, all of the deer returned soon after the fire. Deer from burned areas had to work harder and travel farther to find green vegetation, and researchers noticed a decline in body condition in some of these animals. Still, their loyalty to home is a tactic that likely helped this species survive past wildfires.

It’s unknown whether this loyalty-to-home strategy will prove helpful, or harmful, in the future. Smaller wildfires encourage new vegetation growth — tasty for deer — but massive wildfires can actually destroy seed banks, which reduces the amount of plants available to eat. In this case, some of the deer that had to expand their home range to eat did so at the expense of their body condition.

“These deer have evolved this behavioral strategy that has clearly worked for them, but the big question mark is, as fires get more intense and frequent, will this behavior actually trap animals in these habitats that are seeing massive disturbances on the scale of nothing that has happened before in their evolutionary history,” Gaynor said.

The specific patterns observed with these deer likely can’t be applied to other large mammals in different regions, the authors said. But it’s an interesting case study to explore what extreme disturbances, like large wildfires, might mean for animals. Meanwhile, co-author Kendall Calhoun, a doctoral student at UC Berkeley, is continuing to look at the long-term effects of the fire on the health and reproductive capacity of this population of deer, which is still being tracked.

Other co-authors are Alex McInturff and Justin Brashares at UC Berkeley. This research was funded by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. For more information, contact Kreling at skreling@uw.edu and Gaynor at gaynor@nceas.ucsb.edu.

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What to Know About the Dixie Fire | Corona, CA

Tuesday: Although it rained on Monday, fire season is well underway. And the state’s biggest blaze is burning near areas scarred from the Camp Fire.

By Jill Cowan | July 27, 2021

Good morning.

There may have been rare July showers in parts of California on Monday. But make no mistake: The drought is still a threat. And fire season is underway.

The Dixie Fire, California’s largest wildfire this year, continued to burn through thousands of acres of rough terrain, prompting evacuation orders and threatening communities in a region scarred by the memory of the 2018 Camp Fire, the deadliest in the state’s history.

More than 5,400 firefighters were battling the Dixie Fire, which merged over the weekend with another nearby blaze, the Fly Fire, and had burned through about 200,000 acres, according to Cal Fire, the state’s fire agency.

That’s an area a little larger than New York City, and about half of the acreage burned by the Bootleg Fire in southern Oregon, the nation’s largest this year. But the Bootleg Fire is burning in a more remote area; 300 people live within five miles of that blaze, according to The New York Times’s wildfire tracker, compared with 4,900 within five miles of the Dixie Fire.

The Dixie Fire started more than a week ago, just a couple of miles from the spot where the Camp Fire ignited, said Rick Carhart, a spokesman for Cal Fire in Butte County. That fire killed more than 80 people and all but leveled the remote town of Paradise.

“There really is so much — there’s no other word for it — PTSD,” Mr. Carhart said. “There’s so much anxiety.”

A stream of firefighting helicopters taking off from a nearby airport in recent days has flown over Magalia, a community that was also devastated by the Camp Fire. Residents there are out of the path of this year’s flames, Mr. Carhart said — but are still afraid.

“They see a helicopter with a bucket attached,” he said. “And it’s, ‘Oh my God, here we go again.’”

The two blazes also bear another chilling similarity: Pacific Gas & Electric, the state’s largest utility, said last week that blown fuses on one of its utility poles may have sparked the Dixie Fire. PG&E pleaded guilty last year to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter for its role in starting the Camp Fire.

Mr. Carhart said that crews have been making progress in controlling the Dixie Fire, and the weather has been more cooperative in recent days than fire officials had predicted. Nevertheless, the size and timing of the blaze — which he said is already the 15th-largest in California’s recorded history — point to a future in which fires won’t be limited to a single season.

“One of the most concerning things about it is how early in the year it is,” Mr. Carhart.

Last year’s record-breaking wildfire season, during which millions of acres burned across California and the West, actually had a below-average start, he said, until widespread lightning strikes ignited tinder-dry vegetation in many remote areas.

Right now, Mr. Carhart said, the thousands of firefighters who are cutting fire lines, dousing hot spots or doing any of the other time-consuming, physically demanding work required of them, are looking at months before there’s likely to be rain, which heralds an end to the most intense fire activity.

In the past, he said, he might have expected a blaze like the Dixie Fire sometime in September — not July.

“We’re all kind of learning that fire season isn’t a three-month or six-month thing anymore,” he said.

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Brush Fire in San Bernardino National Forest Stopped at 34 Acres, Temporarily Closes Highway 18 | Corona, CA

By RUBY GONZALES | rugonzales@scng.com and QUINN WILSON | qwilson@scng.com | San Gabriel Valley Tribune PUBLISHED: June 28, 2021 at 1:09 p.m. | UPDATED: June 28, 2021 at 6:54 p.m.

Firefighters on the ground, along with helicopters and planes, battled a brush fire on Monday, June 28, that started when a car crashed near Old Waterman Canyon Road in San Bernardino, temporarily shut down Highway 18 and burned 34 acres.

Update 1: Closure remains in place on SR-18 from 40th to 138 due to #PeakFire. Commuters must use other available routes to get up and down the mountain. It is unknown when closure will lift. #Caltrans8

— Caltrans District 8 (@Caltrans8) June 29, 2021

One firefighter suffered heat injury and was taken to a hospital.

The fire was burning in the forest, said Zach Behrens, a spokesman for the San Bernardino National Forest. There were no evacuations, he added.

The fire’s forward progress was stopped around 1:43 p.m., according to National Forest officials. By around 5:15 p.m., crews had reached 10 percent containment on the blaze.

#PeakFire update: now approximately 24 acres. Highway 18 closure is now in effect from Highway 138 down to 40th street. pic.twitter.com/7YKkN1pgs7

— San Bernardino National Forest (@SanBernardinoNF) June 28, 2021

The fire was reported around 10:50 a.m. off of Old Waterman Canyon Road. It headed west upslope, crossed Highway 18 and moved at a rapid rate, Behrens said.

The fire was determined to be ignited by a single-car crash involving a BMW that quickly spread to the adjacent vegetation, according to Lisa Cox, spokeswoman for the National Forest.

“This is a great opportunity to remind people that parking the side of the road where there’s any vegetation at all is not a good idea,” Cox said. “Of course, accidents happen, but if you ever need to pull over be sure to use one of the paved turnouts along highways like (Highway 18).”

Cox said firefighters responded to the initial call regarding the fire, then learned about the car crash. It was not immediately clear if anyone was injured in the crash or the subsequent car fire.

Authorities closed Highway 18, between 40th Street in San Bernardino and Highway 138 in Crestline. The upbound lanes were expected to be fully reopened at 8 p.m. while downbound will have one lane open through Tuesday morning, June 29, Caltrans said.

UPDATE: Upbound 18 will open fully at 8pm tonight. Downbound 18 will have one lane open at 8 pm tonight until further notice. At least through tomorrow morning. https://t.co/ztEmYA2MzV

— Caltrans District 8 (@Caltrans8) June 29, 2021

Behrens said 150 firefighters responded along with five helicopters and nine fixed-wing aircraft.

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‘It’s like having gasoline out there’: Grim fire season starts much drier in U.S. West than record-shattering 2020 | Corona, CA

by: Associated Press, Steve Kuzj, Lauren Lyster Posted: May 24, 2021 / 01:14 PM PDT / Updated: May 25, 2021 / 03:49 PM PDT

As bad as last year’s record-shattering fire season was, the western U.S. starts this year’s in even worse shape.

The soil in the West is record dry for this time of year. In much of the region, plants that fuel fires are also the driest scientists have seen. The vegetation is primed to ignite, especially in the Southwest where dead juniper trees are full of flammable needles.

“It’s like having gasoline out there,” said Brian Steinhardt, forest fire zone manager for Prescott and Coconino national forests in Arizona.

A climate change-fueled megadrought of more than 20 years is making conditions that lead to fire even more dangerous, scientists said. Rainfall in the Rockies and farther west was the second lowest on record in April, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“It means that the dice are loaded toward a lot of forest fire this year,” said Park Williams, a UCLA climate and fire scientist, who calculated that soil in the western half of the nation is the driest it has been since 1895. “This summer we’re going into fire season with drier fuels than we were at this time last year.”

In addition, the western drought is deepening week by week.

In late March, less than one-third of California was suffering extreme or exceptional drought. Now more than 73% is, according to the National Drought Monitor, which is based on precipitation, temperature, soil moisture and streamflow measurements. A year ago, heading into the record-smashing 2020 fire year when more than 4% of California burned, just 3% of the state was in extreme or exceptional drought.

But the outlook is worse elsewhere.

“I think the Southwest is really primed for a bad fire season,” University of Utah fire scientist Phil Dennison said. That’s because last year’s normal monsoon season, which brings much of the year’s rainfall, never showed up.

A year ago, none of Arizona, Nevada and Utah was in extreme or exceptional drought, but now more than 90% of Utah, 86% of Arizona and 75% of Nevada is in those highest drought categories, according to the drought monitor. New Mexico jumped from 4% extreme or exceptional drought a year ago to more than 77% now.

UCLA meteorologist Daniel Swain, who also works for the National Center for Atmospheric Research and The Nature Conservancy, said key factors going into fire season are soil and plant wetness.

“So is soil moisture very low? Is vegetation extremely dry? Absolutely, yes. Unequivocally, yes. Pretty much everywhere in California and the Southwest,” Swain said. “So that box is checked big time in a way that is going to massively increase the potential background flammability … given a spark, given extreme weather conditions.”

This doesn’t necessarily ensure the 2021 fire season will be worse than 2020. Last year more than 15,800 square miles of the United States burned, an area about the size of Maryland and Delaware combined. Several scientists said last year’s fires were stoked not just by hot, dry conditions, but by unusual situations that made a bad year horrific:

Two intense heat waves — one that nearly set a record for hottest temperature on Earth in Death Valley — set the stage, and a freak California lightning barrage provided lots of spark.

The lightning outbreak was the type that has happened only a few times in history and is unlikely to occur two years in a row, Swain said.

“Maybe it won’t be the hottest summer,” he said, adding. “I’m really grasping at straws here. All we have going for us is dumb luck.”

When the scientists see extremely dry or dying trees, they get even more worried.

In Arizona, junipers are succumbing to the 20-year drought and its two-year intensification, said Joel McMillin, a forest health zone leader for the U.S. Forest Service there. Officials haven’t done a precise count but anecdotally the die-off is 5% to 30% with some patches up to 60%.

Until the dead needles drop to the ground, which takes a year or so, the fire hazard increases, fire manager Steinhardt said. “So you have something that’s highly flammable and it’s … 20-, 30-, 40-foot tall and every single one of those needles on there now becomes an ember that can be launched.”

“This is probably one of the driest and potentially most challenging situations I’ve been in,” said the veteran of 32 fire seasons.

In California, normally drought-tolerant blue oaks are dying around the San Francisco Bay Area, said Scott Stephens, a fire science professor at the University of California, Berkeley. “They don’t have access to water. Soil moisture is so low. When you start to see blue oak dying, that gets your attention.”

Human-caused climate change and decades of fire suppression that increases fuel loads are aggravating fire conditions across the West, scientists said.

Global warming has contributed to the megadrought and is making plants more prone to burning.

Normally a good part of the sun’s energy removes water from plants and soil, but when they are already dry, that energy instead makes the air hotter, which creates a feedback loop, Swain said.

And drier conditions lead to beetle infestations that further weaken and kill trees, said University of Utah’s Dennison.

For decades, U.S. firefighting agencies have tried to put out fires as quickly as possible, and that’s usually worked, UCLA’s Williams said. But the practice resulted in the buildup of dense trees, brush and other potential fire fuels.

“Fire is escaping our control increasingly frequently,” he said. “And some of the reason for that might be because of increasing density of fuels. But we also see that these fires are escaping our control during record-breaking heat waves — and it’s the warmest, driest years when we have the hardest time controlling fires.”

For more information about fire updates, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

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Evacuation Orders Lifted After Fire Near Castaic and Valencia Burns 650 Acres | Corona, CA

By ABC7.com staff / Thursday, April 29, 2021 8:37AM

CASTAIC, Calif. (KABC) — A fire in the Castaic and Valencia area quickly spread to at least 650 acres, triggering mandatory evacuation orders and road closures in the area. By around 10 p.m. the evacuation orders were being lifted as firefighters reported stopping the forward progress of the blaze and reaching at least 25% containment.

Earlier in the day, evacuations were ordered for residents north and west of West Hills Drive, north of Iron Village Drive, north and west of Tesoro Del Valle and north of Copper Hill Drive due to the North Fire, the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station announced.

A voluntary evacuation order had been in place for the area of Rye Canyon Loop.

Road closures were in place for West Hills Drive from Iron Village Drive to the northern Copper Hill Drive entrance in Valencia.

The fire was first reported around 2 p.m. east of the 5 Freeway and northeast of the Wayside Canyon area in Castaic. It was named the North Fire. It later spread to the Valencia/Santa Clarita area.

The blaze was initially described as about 1 acre burning uphill in light to medium fuels. The flames initially were burning near a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department facility that stores live weapons and ammunition. Firefighters were at that time advised to hold back for their own safety.

Within minutes the fire was estimated at 4-10 acres and then spread to 30 acres. By 4 p.m. it was estimated to have spread to 90 acres and then grew to at least 650 acres by 8 p.m.

Fixed wing aircraft, air tankers and helicopters were being used to battle the flames, along with ground crews.

The elevated fire weather danger remains in effect for L.A. and Ventura counties through Saturday amid warm temperatures, dry conditions and periods of gusty winds.

“It’s kind of scary. It’s not uncommon living here in Santa Clarita,” said resident Rob Tapert. “Every other year, it seems like I’m doing this, but goes with the territory living so close to the so-called national forest over there.”

No injuries were reported.

For more information about fire updates, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

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Thousands of SCE Customers Without Power as Strong Winds Batter SoCal | Corona, CA

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Tens of thousands of Southern California Edison customers were without power Wednesday as strong winds posed the risk of downing power lines that could spark wildfires.

SCE imposed public safety power shutoffs, in which electricity is turned off for customers in wind-prone areas. As of early Wednesday afternoon, over 26,800 SCE customers had their power shut off, while another 36,000 customers were under consideration for shutoffs.

Meanwhile, firefighters battling blazes across the Southland appeared to have gained the upper hand while contending with the strong winds following a day of ferocious Santa Anas that battered mountain and valley areas. Fire crews were working to contain a 43-acre brush fire on the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians reservation near Mecca. The non-injury blaze, which was 50% contained as of Wednesday morning, was reported about 4:40 a.m. Tuesday in the area of Pierce Street and Avenue 73 amid a red flag warning due to high winds and low humidity.

Riverside County Fire Department spokeswoman April Newman said 18 firefighters remained on scene with the goal of fully containing the blaze by the end of the day.

A few fires broke out Tuesday, including one in the Santa Clarita area that blackened 167 acres and a wind-driven brush fire near the westbound 10 Freeway in the San Dimas area that burned about 40 acres. Firefighters appeared to have the upper hand on both blazes Wednesday.

A red flag warning for extreme fire danger expired Tuesday night, but elevated to brief critical fire conditions were still possible Wednesday due to continued strong and gusty offshore winds, according to the National Weather Service.

A wind advisory was in effect until 6 p.m. Wednesday for most of Los Angeles County, and a high wind warning was in effect until 6 p.m. for Orange County coastal areas, and until 10 p.m. for inland Orange County. North to northeast winds of 25 to 40 mph were expected in the San Clarita Valley, with gusts up to 55 mph. Gusts were expected to reach 55 mph in the San Fernando Valley, 50 mph in metro Los Angeles, and 60 mph in the mountains. The winds should become weaker by nightfall, with those number dropping by 15 to 20 mph, the NWS said. On Tuesday, the NWS recorded gusts topping 86 mph in some mountain areas, including Warm Springs and the Magic Mountain Truck Trail in northern Los Angeles County. Other parts of the Santa Clarita Valley were hit with gusts topping 40 and 50 mph, as were select areas of the San Fernando Valley. Winds were also recorded near 50 mph in the Antelope Valley.

The Los Angeles County and city fire departments were prepared up for the wind event, pre-deploying resources in critically endangered areas prior to Tuesday. The Los Angeles Fire Department stationed three task forces in the valleys, while the county fire department ordered “additional staffing and pre-deployment of resources throughout the county.”

Red flag parking restrictions took effect Los Angeles at 8 a.m. The restrictions, which bar residents from parking on streets in high fire hazard zones to ensure fire crews can access hard-to-reach areas, were scheduled to be lifted at 8 a.m. Wednesday. Pasadena imposed similar restrictions at noon, continuing through at least 7 a.m. Wednesday.

Kevin McGowan, director of the county’s Office of Emergency Management, urged residents to be prepared for dangerous conditions.

“Our emergency response officials are world-class and will stand ready to defend lives and property,” he said. “But we need collaboration from all residents who live in L.A. County to stay safe as a region. We must all do our part by staying informed and being ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice, especially if you live in canyon, mountain or foothill communities.”

He urged residents to have an evacuation plan in place and be prepared by taking steps such as parking vehicles facing the street and on driveways — not in garages that may not be accessible if electric garage-door openers become inoperable in an outage.

City News Service contributed to this report.

Thousands in California Face Power Shutoffs During Fire Weather | Corona, CA

Utility Southern California Edison said nearly 50,000 of its customers could go dark as a prevention measure.

Nov. 27, 2020, 4:18 PM PST

By Dennis Romero

Thousands of utility customers in Southern California were warned they could be in the dark Friday because dry, windy fire weather was whipping the region.

Initially 100,000 customers were under consideration for precautionary power cutoffs to prevent sparking fires, but that number was reduced to 47,000 by afternoon, said Taelor Bakewell, a spokeswoman for Southern California Edison.

Still, electricity was cut off to 15,796 customers Friday under the preventative plan, she said.

Customers in Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties could still be affected, she said. Another 2,739 customers in San Diego County were warned of possible shutoffs from San Diego Gas & Electric, the utility said.

The city of Los Angeles has its own taxpayer-run utility that doesn’t participate in precautionary outages. The shutoffs have otherwise become customary during dry, windy weather in California.

State fire officials determined that Pacific Gas & Electric transmission lines were the cause of the state’s deadliest blaze, 2018’s Camp Fire, and the utility agreed to billions of dollars of settlements connected to a rash of Northern California fires in 2017.

Even in late November, with overnight temperatures producing freeze warnings in some parts of Southern California, fire weather can erupt. The weekend’s forecast includes dry, offshore winds from the U.S.-Mexico border to Ventura County.

Gusts of up to 65 mph were possible in regional mountains through Saturday afternoon, the National Weather Service said.

“What drives the fire risk is not just temperature,” said Tom Fischer, a weather service meteorologist in Oxnard. “It’s wind, low humidity and fuel moisture.”

The winds could subside by Sunday, he said: “But don’t let your guard down.”

Dennis Romero writes for NBC News and is based in Los Angeles.

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El Dorado Fire Burns 18,506 Acres, 63 Percent Contained | Corona, CA

INLAND EMPIRE, CA — Crews brought containment on the massive El Dorado Fire to 63 percent by Wednesday night, but thousands of evacuations were in place with 26,031 structures still threatened, fire officials said.

The “very dynamic” blaze had consumed 18,506 acres and injured 12 people, officials reported. More than 1,300 firefighting personnel are assigned to the blaze that has destroyed four homes and six outbuildings. It has damaged two other homes and six outbuildings, Cal Fire said.

“… great work by firefighting resources assigned to the El Dorado Fire continued today,” officials said Wednesday night. “The fire slowly backed down at low intensity into a retardant line placed along Hwy. 38 in the vicinity of Angelus Oaks. Ground crews were able to directly attack the fire utilizing hose lines to protect the community.”

A high-pressure weather system was in place Wednesday, causing hot and dry conditions, according to Cal Fire.

Evacuation orders remained in effect for: Mountain Home Village, Forest Falls, Angelus Oaks and Seven Oaks. Big Bear residents are not under evacuation but are asked to remain alert and watch updated orders.

Fire officials are asking evacuated residents to remain patient as crews continue to work in their neighborhoods. A Red Cross evacuation center is located at the Redlands East Valley High School, 31000 E. Colton Ave. in Redlands. Highway 38 is closed between Bryant St. to the south and Onyx Summit to the north.

Smoke from the El Dorado, Bobcat and Valley fires is impacting Inland Empire air quality. A Daily Smoke Report issued by the Wildland Fire Air Quality Program is available, and residents can also visit www.airnow.gov for air quality updates in their area. Most of Riverside County is forecast to have unhealthful air quality on Wednesday, officials said.

Cal Fire officials said the brusher was sparked Sept. 5 by a smoke-emitting firework used at a gender-reveal gathering of family members at El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa. Record heat and dry conditions helped the fire quickly spread north to the Yucaipa Ridge, fire officials said.

The Desert Sun reported that the family who planned the small gathering was cooperating with authorities and that no charges have been filed yet.

Fire officials told the publication that the family called 911 after trying to extinguish the blaze themselves. They remained on the scene until firefighters arrived according to the report.Cal Fire Capt. Bennet Milloy said the blaze remains under investigation.

“Those responsible for starting fires due to negligence or illegal activity can be held financially responsible and criminally responsible,” CalFire officials said Sunday.

Milloy said investigators are testing the mechanism used at the family gathering to see if it’s considered a “safe and sane” firework. But he said “safe and sane” pyrotechnic devices are illegal in Yucaipa.

For more information about fire updates, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

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Dam Fire 40% Contained After Charring 217 Acres Above Azusa; Battle Continues Amid Heatwave | Corona, CA

by Nisha Gutierrez-Jaime

Posted: Jul 31, 2020 / 10:22 AM PDT / Updated: Jul 31, 2020 / 11:47 AM PDT

Despite blazing temperatures and difficult terrain, firefighters have increased containment on the Dam Fire which has burned more than 200 acres in the mountains north of Azusa, officials said Friday. The wildfire erupted Thursday afternoon around 1:45 p.m. in the 9500 block of North San Gabriel Canyon Road, near Morris Dam in the Angeles National Forest, the Los Angeles County Fire Department reported.

As of Friday morning, the Dam Fire had burned 217 acres and was 40% contained. Firefighters are continuing to aggressively work on gaining the upper hand despite sweltering temperatures.

“The combination of hot temperatures, low relative humidities, locally gusty winds, and drying fuels will bring elevated fire weather conditions to the Dam Fire burn area today,” officials said on the wildfire’s InciWeb page.

More than 250 firefighters from several agencies responded to the wildfire to battle it from the ground. Video from Sky5 also showed aerial units dousing the flames with water from above. Nearby residents could hear the planes working overhead throughout the afternoon.

The fire grew quickly on Thursday afternoon, resulting in mandatory evacuations and road closures.

Mandatory evacuations were ordered around 4 p.m. for those in the area north of Morris Dam to Crystal Lake. Camp sites and recreation areas in the surrounding areas are also off limits.

“They are not typical residential evacuations ion that we typically see during these big wildfires,” Marc Peebles of the U.S. Forest Service told KTLA. “There are some special use cabins up there and I believe one of them had people in it, so they evacuated the folks out of there.”

Highway 39 was closed to all traffic at Old San Gabriel Canyon Road, as well as East Fork Road. The Azusa Police Department said the closures would be in effect through at least Sunday. Non-residents were not being allowed to go past El Encanto Restaurant. In addition to the heatwave, rockslides have also made the situation difficult on crews.

“As the slopes burn it loses the ability to hold back those heavy rocks, so we have had several rockslides that have come down on the roadways so CalTrans is here working with us,” Peebles said.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a smoke advisory in effect through Friday afternoon due to the Dam Fire as winds were expected to come from the southwest, which could push smoke to the northeast, toward Wrightwood and Mount Baldy. The cause of the wildfire remains under investigation.

|UPDATE| #DamFire Despite hot temperatures and steep terrain, your #AngelesNF firefighters were able to grow the containment to 40%. Overnight, we mapped the fire at 217 acres. pic.twitter.com/4iGsqJ2VBl

— Angeles_NF (@Angeles_NF) July 31, 2020

ANF Fire Chief Robert Garcia; “A very robust air and ground attack is holding back further spread. But tough days ahead in some of the steepest terrain in the Angeles, combined with a heat wave of 100-degrees-plus. Please give thanks to your firefighters.” #DamFire. Photo #air7hd pic.twitter.com/Q51kVvMJUv

— Angeles_NF (@Angeles_NF) July 31, 2020

**HWY 39 WILL BE CLOSED TO ALL TRAFFIC ** through at least Sunday. Please stay away from the area as non residents will not be allowed to continue beyond El Encanto Restaurant.#azusa #CityofAzusa #AzusaPD #fire #lafd #firefighters #canyon #roadclosed

— Azusa Police (@AzusaPD) July 31, 2020

For more information about summertime fire safety, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

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11 Firefighters Hurt in Downtown L.A. Explosion that Caused Fires at Several Buildings | Corona, CA

Embedded video

By LIAM DILLONBEN WELSHMAY 16, 20207:02 PM UPDATED MAY 16, 2020 | 10:22 PM

An explosion in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday caused a large fire that left 11 firefighters injured, authorities said.

Firefighters first received a call about 6:30 p.m. about a structure fire in the 300 block of Boyd Street south of Little Tokyo, said Erik Scott, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department.

While firefighters were inside attempting to find the source of the blaze, there was “a significant explosion, very high, very wide, rumbling the entire area,” Scott said. The explosion was so powerful that it blackened a fire engine parked across the street and melted the helmets of some firefighters, he said.

Eleven firefighters were receiving treatment for burn injuries, Scott said. All were taken to County-USC Medical Center. At a news conference at the hospital late Saturday night, Mayor Eric Garcetti said three of the firefighters sustained critical but not life-threating injuries. All were expected to survive.

“We’ve been saying for the last two months even more than usual how much we appreciate our medical personnel and first responders,” Garcetti said. “Tonight I’m doubly and deeply grateful for the both of them.”

Scott said more than 240 firefighters had responded to the blaze before it was extinguished shortly after 8 p.m. An initial investigation of the scene identified the business as Smoke Tokes, a warehouse distributor with supplies for butane hash oil, he said. The cause of the fire has not been determined.

“It’s very tough to see our brothers and sisters go through something like this,” Scott said.

He described how several firefighters were inside the building and on the roof fighting the initial blaze when the explosion occurred, causing a tremendous roar that arriving personnel described as sounding like “a freight train or a jet engine.”

A massive ball of flame erupted out of the building, Scott said. Firefighters ran “straight through that ball of flame to get to safety across the street,” he said.

Major fire in Little Tokyo/downtown Los Angeles at San Pedro and Third. Dangerously close to Skid Row residents, senior and low income housing. Major smoke screen, ash is raining for blocks.

Jeralyn Cleveland was celebrating a family birthday party on the roof of the 13-story apartment building she manages three blocks away when she saw the explosion.

“Everyone in my building thought there was a bomb that went off,” said Cleveland, 37. “It was like a mushroom.”

Cleveland said there are small fires all the time in the neighborhood, which borders skid row, but she had never seen anything like this before.

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