A wildfire in Southern California that began Friday evening amid blazing temperatures spread across 4,000 acres overnight.
The Apple Fire is now 20,500 acres and remains 0% contained. EVACUATION ORDERS and WARNINGS remain in place. And that’s occurring along the San Andreas fault! Ever heard about it?
More than a thousand Southern California firefighters and multiple aircraft were working Sunday morning to battle the Apple Fire near Beaumont, which has spread to more than 20,000 acres, sent smoke drifting to Arizona and continues to threaten thousands of homes in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
The massive blaze, which began Friday evening as two smaller fires that eventually merged, has continued to grow overnight — fed by low humidity, a slight breeze, thick vegetation and triple-digit temperatures.
20,000 acres, 0% containment, 7800 evacuations
As of 10 a.m. Sunday, the Apple Fire had scorched 20,516 acres — more than 32 square miles — destroyed three structures and was 0% contained amid efforts of 1,200 firefighters and scores of water and fire retardant drops from the air on.
About 7,800 people from 2,600 residences have been ordered to evacuate, officials said late Saturday. No injuries have been reported.
The leading edge of smoke from the fire has pushed as far as the city of Globe, Ariz., roughly 400 miles away, according to the National Weather Service’s Phoenix office. The main body of smoke is visible across south-central and southwest regions of the state.
According to published media reports, witnesses called 911 soon after the fires started, stating a man was seen walking along Apple Tree Lane near Oak Glen Road in unincorporated Cherry Valley, igniting each blaze.
Fire officials say a cause remains under investigation.
The fire is burning on two sides. The western edge is in the Forest Falls area in San Bernardino County, while the eastern flank has headed toward the Morongo Band of Mission Indians’ reservation in Riverside County.
As of Sunday morning, a portion of the reservation remained under an evacuation order, while other sections fell under a warning. Morongo Casino Resort & Spa, located slightly to the south, has not been affected by evacuation notices.
Throughout the night, firefighters, with the help of bulldozers and hand crews, built fire lines in anticipation of continued aerial attacks that would take place after the sun had risen Sunday.
“It is steep terrain, rugged terrain,” he said. “Access is limited. We can’t really get to it on foot. We rely a lot on the aircraft to do the work during the day.”
Officials brought in the Very Large Air Tanker (VLAT) on Saturday, which along with a number of other air tankers were used to target the northwest corner of the fire. The VLAT, as it is called, is capable of dropping roughly 10,000 gallons of fire retardant at a time.
The Apple Fire began shortly before 5 p.m. Friday in the 9000 block of Oak Glen Road in Cherry Valley, which is a few miles north of Beaumont, Cal Fire said.
At the request of the fire department, Southern California Edison turned off electricity along Oak Glen Road and the surrounding side streets to prevent additional fires from breaking out as burned power poles collapsed and dropped transmission lines.
The practice is known as a “public safety power shutoff.”
The western edge of the fire near the Forest Falls area of San Bernardino County is full of heavy vegetation. The eastern side also has heavy vegetation, but thins and becomes rocky and grassy closer to the unincorporated community of Whitewater.
As of Saturday night, the only structures lost have been a single-family home and two outbuildings near Avenida Miravilla in Cherry Valley.
Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for Cherry Valley residents north of Dutton Street, east of Oak Glen Road and south of County Line Road, according to the Riverside County Emergency Management Department.
Also, those living north of Gilman Street in the Banning Bluff area and north of Cherry Valley Boulevard, west of Highland Springs Avenue and east of Beaumont Avenue, were also ordered to evacuate.
All ongoing evacuations orders remain in effect Sunday.
Residents of the west Potato Canyon area to Raywood Flat in Oak Glen are under an evacuation warning, while residents in the Banning area who live north of Wilson Street, east of Sunset Avenue and west of Hathaway Street are under mandatory evacuation orders, officials said.
An evacuation warning means mandatory evacuation orders could come with “little or no notice,” officials said.
Residents of the unincorporated communities of Oak Glen and Forest Falls are under voluntary evacuation orders as of 5 p.m. Saturday.
By 6:30 p.m. Saturday, an evacuation warning was issued for residents north of Morongo Road, east of Millard Canyon Road and west of Whitewater Canyon Road.
This particular area is north of the Interstate 10 and Highway 111 interchange on the western edge of the Coachella Valley, in the unincorporated community of Whitewater.
An evacuation center has been set up at Beaumont High School, 39139 Cherry Valley Blvd., in Beaumont.
The blaze was threatening 2,586 homes and affecting as many as 7,800 residents, according to figures released Saturday night.
Weather a factor
The fire has prompted a number of road closures in Banning. The following closures were still in effect early Sunday:
- Northbound on Oak Glen road from Orchard Avenue
- Northbound on International Park/Cherry Ave at Bridge Street
- Northbound Ave San Timoteo at Orchard Street
- Northbound Winesap at Dutton Street
- Northbound Bellflower Ave. at Cherry Valley Boulevard
- Northbound Highland Springs at Oak Valley
- Northbound Sunset Ave at West Wilson Street
- Northbound Bluff St. at Mias Canyon Road.
Due to the Apple Fire, forest officials announced Saturday evening that they had closed the San Gorgonio Wilderness, a roughly 96,000-acre area north of the fire. Also, the Pacific Crest Trail, a route popular with hikers, was closed between the forest boundary and Onyx Summit.
In addition, the South Coast Air Quality Management issued a smoke advisory for the Coachella Valley that has been extended into Sunday, cautioning residents to remain indoors, avoid physical activity and to use air conditioning or run their air purifiers.
The Apple Fire broke out amid an extended heat wave across the Inland Empire and in the Coachella Valley, where temperatures topped out at 111 degrees Saturday in Palm Springs, according to the National Weather Service.
Summary: Nearly 8,000 residents of Riverside County in Southern California were forced to evacuate their homes on Saturday as a wildfire spread uncontained across more than 4,000 acres, the county fire department said. The fire, dubbed the Apple Fire by local firefighters was reported Friday in Cherry Valley, a community about 75 miles east of Los Angeles and had destroyed at least 3 family homes as of Saturday evening.
More wildfire news on Strange Sounds and Steve Quayle. Now if you are looking for supplements to increase your healthy lifestyle and sexlife please visit Natural Health Source. [Desert Sun, RVC Fire, CalFire]