Story Summary

Southern California wildfires

fire-1

  • The 2013 wildfire season began early.
  • Several destructive wildfires broke out in the first week of May.
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This story has 9 updates

IDYLLWILD, Calif. — The community of Idyllwild is once again open for business, after the U.S. Forest Service lifted evacuation orders for both residents and visitors Sunday night.

Wildfire

A fast-moving fire near Idyllwild has burned thousands of acres since Monday afternoon. (Cal-Fire / July 16, 2013)

Over two-thirds of the Mountain Fire, which threatened the community last week, has been contained.

Highway 243 is completely open, evacuations orders have been lifted and firefighting crews have been scaled back, according to a statement from the Forest Service.

Officials emphasized that the community of Idyllwild was not damaged.

While efforts are being scaled back, 1,861 personnel will continue to fight the blaze Monday, Beyer said.

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IDYLLWILD, Calif. — Six homes are among the 15 structures destroyed by a raging wildfire in Riverside County, the U.S. Forest Service said Wednesday.

Mountain Fire growingThe Mountain fire near Idyllwild continued to expand at a furious pace, growing from 8,000 acres Tuesday to 14,200 acres Wednesday. The fire was 10% contained, officials said.

In an update Wednesday morning, the U.S. Forest Service said three mobile homes and three residences in Bonita Vista were destroyed.

In Pine Springs, the fire destroyed one commercial building, a workshop, a garage and a cabin.

Eleven other buildings and up to six vehicles also burned.

The fire started Monday afternoon near the junction of highways 243 and 74, burning east of Mountain Center and Apple Canyon.

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IDYLLWILD, Calif. — A fast-moving wildfire in Riverside County has blackened about 8,000 acres near Idyllwild, forcing the evacuation of dozens of homes, officials said Tuesday.

Wildfire

A fast-moving fire near Idyllwild has burned thousands of acres since Monday afternoon. (Cal-Fire / July 16, 2013)

The Mountain fire started Monday afternoon off highways 243 and 74 near Idyllwild and quadrupled in size overnight to 4,700 acres. By midday, it had nearly doubled in size again. It was 10% contained, the U.S. Forest Service said.

Mandatory evacuations were ordered for 24 homes in the Bonita Vista and Fleming Ranch communities. The Living Free Animal Sanctuary and the Zen Mountain Center were also evacuated. Evacuation centers for residents and pets were set up at local schools and animal shelters.

About 650 firefighters aided by helicopters and air tankers, were attacking the blaze, which has damaged an unknown number of buildings. The cause was under investigation.

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lakeside fire LAKESIDE, Calif – A wildfire that spread over rugged open terrain near El Capitan Reservoir was 75 percent contained and holding at 112 acres Wednesday morning.

The so-called Monte Fire erupted for unknown reasons off the 15800 block of El Monte Road in the Lakeside area shortly before 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to the U.S. Forest Service. No structures were damaged or threatened, and no injuries reported as of 10:30 a.m.

The blaze quickly moved away from developed areas as it spread through the outskirts of the Cleveland National Forest.

Both ground and airborne crews were called in to battle the flames, the Forest Service reported.

LAKESIDE, Calif. — Fire crews fought a brush fire burning in steep, rugged terrain near El Capitan Reservoir Tuesday afternoon.

Helicopters and air tankers were dropping water and fire retardant on the steep slopes of El Cajon Mountain north of El Monte Road between El Monte County Park and El Capitan Dam.

Helicopter Water DropThe fire was reported at about 1 p.m and dozens of wildland fire engines had transported ground crews to the blaze. Firefighters used hand tools to cut a containment line around the slow moving fire.

At least three helicopters were shuttling between the reservoir and the fire making water drops.

Ground and airborne crews worked to contain the flames, which blackened roughly 110 acres by early evening, the federal agency reported.

The blaze moved away from developed areas as it spread through the outskirts of Cleveland National Forest, authorities said.

Dry brush fire dangerCAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — A brush fire that scorched nearly 500 acres at the northern end of Camp Pendleton was contained Thursday.

The fire in the San Mateo area, reported about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, was likely started by a training exercise, although no cause has been determined, Camp Pendleton Deputy Fire Chief Robert Johnson said.

About 250 acres had been blackened by Wednesday evening, he said.

Firefighters monitored the blaze overnight reported it contained, or surrounded by defensible fire lines, this morning, Marine spokesman Cpl. Michael Iams said.

camp pendletonCAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — A brush fire that broke out Wednesday afternoon in a training area at the northern end of Camp Pendleton quickly blackened about 300 acres.

The fire began in the San Mateo area about 2:30 p.m. and was likely sparked by a training exercise, although the official cause had yet to be determined, Camp Pendleton Deputy Fire Chief Robert Johnson said.

Firefighters from the North County military installation and the Orange County Fire Authority had the blaze about 10 percent contained as of 5:30 p.m., Johnson said.

No injuries were reported and no structures were threatened, he said, adding that crews expect to have the fire fully contained on Thursday.

Hundreds of battle-wary firefighters made the transition to mop-up mode Sunday as the 28,000-acre Springs fire in Ventura County was declared 75% contained, with full containment expected Monday.

Several engine companies were sent home Sunday as hand crews worked to establish a more-than-mile-long fire break in the Hidden Valley area to complete containment of the blaze, which burned all the way from Thousand Oaks to the ocean.

Springs-Fire“We’re going to have this thing out by tomorrow,” Ventura County Fire Capt. Scott Dettore said. “Probably by Monday evening.”

Although the cause of the fire remains under investigation, officials said Sunday that they had ruled out arson and instead believed the blazed was started by a small, “undetermined roadside ignition of grass/debris.”

The fire started Thursday at the edge of the southbound 101 Freeway near Thousand Oaks, about a quarter-mile north of the truck scales on the Conejo Grade, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

“The area is considered a collection point for fuels and ignition sources. Due to the topography, the fire quickly spread, fanned by strong east winds,” the agency said in a statement.

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With the Springs fire in Ventura County 60 percent contained, fire officials on Sunday began releasing crews deployed from across California and neighboring states to battle the 4-day-old blaze that burned large swaths of rugged mountain terrain and forced hundreds to flee their homes.

The number of fire engine companies has dropped from 247 on Saturday to 212 Sunday, said Tom Piranio, a spokesman for Cal Fire.

OtayGrassFireMore than 1,800 fire personnel had been dispatched to fight the fire, which erupted on Thursday. Fire officials wanted to hit the fire hard because of the hot weather and low humidity.

But the weather changed dramatically on Sunday with cooler temperatures, low winds and rising humidity. On Sunday, light rain fell on portions of the burn area, which stretched all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

Some fire crews came from as far away as Oregon, Arizona, Idaho and New Mexico. Those fire municipalities who came the longest distance were among the first released, fire officials said.

Although 15 homes were damaged in the fire, no homes were destroyed. Seven fire personnel and one civilian received minor injuries.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation but fire officials said Sunday they do not suspect arson. The fire was started by a small, “undetermined roadside ignition of grass/debris,” according to Cal Fire.

The fire started at the edge of southbound Highway 101 near Thousand Oaks, about a quarter-mile north of the truck scales on the Conejo Grade, according to the state fire agency.

Read more at latimes.com

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