Translate this page

Mountain Fire is 100% contained


Thursday, July 25th, 2013
Issue 30, Volume 17.
You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video.


IDYLLWILD - Fire officials fully contained the 27,531-acre Mountain Fire today, more than two weeks after it was sparked by electrical equipment failure on private property northeast of Idyllwild.

The blaze, which broke out July 15, has destroyed 23 structures, including seven residences, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Fighting the blaze, which continues to smolder in heavy down and dead material in the northwest section of the burn area, has cost more than $25.8 million.

All Forest Service campgrounds and day-use areas located along Highway 243, San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness -- and all hiking and mountain biking trails out of Hurkey Creek County Campground and the May Valley area --remain closed.


Mountain Fire is 99% contained; officials expect 100% containment by Tuesday

IDYLLWILD - The Mountain Fire was 99 percent contained today, two weeks after it broke out due to electrical equipment failure on private property northeast of Idyllwild.

Fire officials expected the 182 personnel still working the smoldering fire to fill in all of the gaps by Tuesday, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

The fire has scorched 27,531 acres since it broke out July 15 and destroyed 23 structures, including seven residences. Fighting it has cost more than $25.6 million.

Incident commander Chris Fogle praised the work of firefighters and remained confident they would achieve 100 percent containment -- two previous projection dates have been pushed back -- by Tuesday.

All Forest Service campgrounds and day-use areas located along Highway 243, San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness -- and all hiking and mountain biking trails out of Hurkey Creek County Campground and the May Valley area -- remain closed.


IDYLLWILD - The containment estimate for the Mountain Fire reached 98 percent today, as firefighters continued the arduous tasks of closing the final fire line gaps in steep, forested mountains northeast of Idyllwild, fire officials said today.

Fire officials anticipate fully surrounding the wildfire by Tuesday but credited the efforts of six crews that stayed overnight for several days in the rough terrain to improve fire lines and mop up hot spots, U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Carol Underhill said.

The wildfire was sparked July 15 south of Idyllwild, when an electrical equipment failure occurred on private property. A total of 23 structures were destroyed during the blaze, which has cost $25.6 million so far to quell, fire officials said.

Incident Commander Chris Fogle praised the work of firefighters and remained confident they would achieve their goal by Tuesday.

"Our firefighters are working under difficult conditions, but we are confident in the progress they are making in completing the fire line," Fogle said.


Firefighters confident that Mountain Fire will be fully contained by Tuesday

IDYLLWILD - Firefighters remain confident that they'll be able to fully contain the nearly two-week old Mountain Fire that has charred more than 27,500 acres by Tuesday, a spokesman said today.

Firefighters pushed back a full containment date because of the steep terrain in the northwest corner of the perimeter that has hampered some efforts in establishing a fire line construction. Even though the fire remained 96 percent contained today firefighters were assured they'll have it surrounded by Tuesday, Bob Poole, spokesman with the San Bernardino National Forest, said.

Fire crews continued making progress and in putting out hot spots close to the Mountain Fire's edge. The wildfire has cost $25.4 million and destroyed 23 structures including seven homes since it started July 15, Carol Underhill, spokeswoman for the San Bernardino National Forest, said.

CalFire investigators determined the blaze was sparked because of some electrical equipment failure on private property.


Complete Mountain Fire containment still eludes firefighters

IDYLLWILD - Fire officials today pushed back the estimated full containment date for the Mountain Fire to Tuesday, saying "extreme terrain" is hampering fire line construction.

The fire has scorched 27,531 acres in the San Bernardino National Forest since it broke out south of Idyllwild 11 days ago, when electrical equipment failed on private property near Mountain Center.

As of today, 96 percent of the fire's containment lines had been built across the steep mountains and forested canyons between Idyllwild and the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

Although full containment had been previously expected today, a statement from the U.S. Forest Service today said crews "are continuing to improve fire line and extinguishing hot areas close to the fire's edge" and people may see smoke toward the north end of the blaze.

The fire area is also under a flash flood watch today, with a chance of thunderstorms.

The cost of fighting the fire, which burned in steep areas covered by chaparral and timber, was $25.2 million. But the number of fire personnel assigned to the blaze continued to be pared back, with 146 remaining today.

The fire had been under the unified command of the Forest Service and Cal Fire, but on Thursday management was turned over to a San Bernardino National Forest local team.

The fire is believed to have started near the junction of Highways 243 and 74 around 1:45 p.m. on July 15. That day, the blaze claimed 23 structures, including seven homes, but no major injuries were reported, either then or since.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection disclosed Thursday that the blaze was sparked by electrical equipment failure "on the customer side of the meter." It said no more information would be released because an investigation was continuing.

Evacuations that affected as many as 6,000 people were lifted on Sunday, and the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which closed July 18 due to fire- generated smoke, reopened Tuesday.

But the nearby San Jacinto Wilderness Area and Mount San Jacinto State Wilderness and all Forest Service Campground and day-use areas along Highway 243 remained closed. Also closed were the Devils Slide, South Ridge, Deer Springs, Marion Mountain, 7 Pines, Black Mountain and Fuller Ridge trails, as well as the Pacific Crest Trail from Highway 74 to Strawberry Junction and connecting trails.

All hiking and mountain biking trails out of the Hurkey Creek County Campground and May Valley areas were also closed, although the Hurkey Creek Campground remained open for camping. Idyllwild and Stone Creek state parks were open, as are the Lake Hemet Campground.

There were no closures remaining on highways 243 or 74.


Mountain Fire to be fully contained today; cause of blaze said to be electrical equipment failure on private property

IDYLLWILD - Fire commanders say the Mountain Fire will be fully contained today, having scorched 27,531 acres in the San Bernardino National Forest since it broke out in the Idyllwild area 11 days ago as a result of electrical equipment failure on private property.

As of Thursday, containment was at 92 percent, according to a Mountain Fire incident update, which said 100 percent containment will be attained by 6 p.m. today. But with the fire continuing to smolder, according to the update, there was no immediate estimate of when it would be declared extinguished.

The cost of fighting the fire, which burned in steep areas covered by chaparral and timber, had risen to $25.2 million as of Thursday, according to the U.S. Forest Service. But the number of fire personnel assigned to the blaze continued to be pared back, with 146 remaining as of Thursday, when the fire, which had been under the unified command of the Forest Service and Cal Fire, was turned over to a San Bernardino National Forest local team.

The fire is believed to have started near the junction of Highways 243 and 74 around 1:45 p.m. on July 15. That day, the blaze claimed 23 structures, including seven homes, but no major injuries were reported, either then or since.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection disclosed Thursday that the blaze was sparked by electrical equipment failure "on the customer side of the meter." It said no more information would be released because an investigation was continuing.

But The Desert Sun reported that the site of the fire's origin, a nearly 20-acre parcel at 53-750 Highway 243 in Mountain Center, is owned by Tarek M. Al-Shawaf of Saudconsult, an engineering and architectural firm in Ryadh, Saudi Arania. He is an American-educated engineer who runs the firm, a close friend who lives in the area told the newspaper.

Neighbors said Al-Shawaf visits the area just a couple of times a year, The Sun reported. A neighbor who did not want to be identified said it sounded like a party was going on the night before the fire started, with music and loud noise coming from the pool.

Evacuations that affected as many as 6,000 people were lifted on Sunday, and the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which closed July 18 due to fire-generated smoke, reopened Tuesday.

But the nearby San Jacinto Wilderness Area and Mount San Jacinto State Wilderness and all Forest Service Campground and day-use areas along Highway 243 remained closed. Also closed were the Devils Slide, South Ridge, Deer Springs, Marion Mountain, 7 Pines, Black Mountain and Fuller Ridge trails, as well as the Pacific Crest Trail from Highway 74 to Strawberry Junction and connecting trails.

All hiking and mountain biking trails out of the Hurkey Creek County Campground and May Valley areas were also closed, although the Hurkey Creek Campground is open for camping. Idyllwild and Stone Creek state parks are open, as are the Lake Hemet Campground and highways 243 and 74.


CAL FIRE investigators determine cause of 'Mountain Fire'

IDYLLWILD - The Mountain Fire, which burned more than 27,000 acres in the Idyllwild area, was caused by an electrical equipment failure on private property, it was announced today.

The equipment failure happened "on the customer side of the meter," according to a written statement from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, which added that no more information would be released because the investigation was continuing.

Command of the blaze was handed over to local personnel this morning, and full containment is expected on Friday, the U.S. Forest Service said.

The blaze was 92 percent contained this morning, having scorched more than 27,500 acres of the San Bernardino National Forest since breaking out near Idyllwild 10 days ago. A U.S. Forest Service statement said the cost of fighting the fire had risen to $25.2 million.

The fire's acreage has changed little since Sunday, thanks to rain from thunderstorms over last weekend and earlier this week.

The number of fire personnel assigned to the blaze continues to be reduced, with 146 remaining. The fire, which has been under the unified command of the Forest Service and Cal Fire, was turned over to a San Bernardino National Forest local team, officials said today.

The blaze has claimed 23 structures, including seven homes, but no major injuries have been reported.

The fire is believed to have started around 1:45 p.m. on July 15 near the junction of Highways 243 and 74. The 23 structures swallowed by the blaze were all destroyed on the first day of the fire.

Evacuations that affected as many as 6,000 people were lifted on Sunday. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway -- which closed Thursday due to fire- generated smoke -- reopened Tuesday. The nearby Mount San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness Area, several campgrounds, Humber Park and Pacific Crest Trail and its connecting trails remain closed.


RIVERSIDE- CAL FIRE Investigators have determined the cause of the "Mountain Fire" to be an electrical equipment failure on private property. The electrical equipment failure occurred on the customer side of the meter. No further details will be released as this remains an on-going investigation.

The "Mountain Fire" was reported at 1:43 PM on July 15, 2013 near the junction of Highway 243 and Highway 74. It burned east of Mountain Center, through the Apple Canyon and Bonita Vista areas, and then along the Desert Divide and southern portion of the San Jacinto Wilderness. At one point the fire’s spread and intensity forced the evacuation of several mountain communities, including Mountain Center, Idyllwild, Fern Valley, and Pine Cove. Seven residential dwellings and 15 other structures were destroyed by the fire.

CAL FIRE and the United States Forest Service/San Bernardino National Forest have been in unified command of the fire. More than 3,400 firefighting personnel from fire agencies throughout the state battled the fire with assistance from the following cooperating agencies; Riverside County Fire Department, Idyllwild Fire Protection District, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Riverside County Office of Emergency Services (OES), California Highway Patrol (CHP), American Red Cross, California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, California State Parks- San Jacinto State Park, California Conservation Corps (CCC), Riverside County Department of Transportation, Riverside County Flood Control, Lake Hemet Municipal Water District, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, Southern California Edison, Idyllwild Water District, Fern Valley Water District and Pine Cove Water District.


 

11 comments

Comment Profile ImageTem Resident
Comment #1 | Friday, Jul 26, 2013 at 11:05 am
I think this "Sheik" needs to pay for the full cost of the fire-
Comment Profile Imageso...
Comment #2 | Friday, Jul 26, 2013 at 3:17 pm
So.... nobody can have equipment malfuntion now, ever? It was unfortunate that a large fire was sparked from this, but now this person needs to be financially ruined for the rest of their life?
Comment Profile ImageSeriously??
Comment #3 | Friday, Jul 26, 2013 at 8:41 pm
I agree with Comment #2. To expect someone to lose their home and have to pay for the rest of their lives for something beyond their control is ludicrous. If you do it on purpose or are negligent that is one thing, but something beyond your control. That is a whole different issue.
Comment Profile ImageMe
Comment #4 | Saturday, Jul 27, 2013 at 7:32 am
At least CALFire didn't start it.....
Comment Profile ImageLee
Comment #5 | Sunday, Jul 28, 2013 at 5:58 am
Holy cow! They still haven't contained it?!

OT baby, OT.
Comment Profile ImageERIN
Comment #6 | Sunday, Jul 28, 2013 at 4:11 pm
Cal-Fire padding the numbers.
Comment Profile ImageResponsibilty!
Comment #7 | Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 1:54 pm
What about the folks (at least 6) who lost their homes? I wonder who they think should pay for their loss? easy ANSWER
Comment Profile ImageMe
Comment #8 | Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 11:17 am
It's call FIRE INSURANCE......
Comment Profile ImagePink
Comment #9 | Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 11:51 am
Agreed Me. Easy answer should be Fire Insurance and probably state disaster funding.
Comment Profile Imagenot that easy
Comment #10 | Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 3:28 pm
Comment #8 and #9: Have either of you two tried to get homeowner's insurance living in a wildland interface area? It's next to impossible, so I believe most of those folks, who lost their homes, didn't have insurance. Whoever caused the fire should not only be responsible for suppression costs, but also for the loss of property, and I hope he had insurance.
Comment Profile ImagePink
Comment #11 | Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 3:59 pm
@Comment #10: If the person causing the fire were negligent or started the fire on purpose then I absolutely agree with you. I do not know that this was the circumstance. If it were an accident that could happen to anybody then I don't believe that he should be forced to foot the entire bill. Who among us could afford to do that? I personally wouldn't want to build a home where I was unable to purchase fire insurance, I would imagine that those that do are willing to take a terrible chance, especially when the odds of having a fire in the area are so high. I do own property with a rental on it in an outlaying area and have fire insurance. I hope the victims of the fire have it as well. I doubt that even if the person who inadvertently started the fire is told to pay up that he would have the ability to do so. Sounds like they may have to apply for disaster funds. The whole thing is a shame.

Article Comments are contributed by our readers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Fallbrook Village News staff. The name listed as the author for comments cannot be verified; Comment authors are not guaranteed to be who they claim they are.

 

Add your Comment


Name

Images, Formatting, or HTML is not allowed : plain text only. You may post up to 5 website addresses within your comment.




Disclaimer

The Fallbrook Village News has tightened its' policy regarding comments.
While we invite you to contribute your opinions and thoughts, we request that you refrain from using vulgar or obscene words and post only comments that directly pertain to the specific topic of the story or article.
Comments that are derogatory in nature have a high likelihood for editing or non-approval if they carry the possibility of being libelous.
The comment system is not intended as a forum for individuals or groups to air personal grievances against other individuals or groups.
Please, no advertising or trolling.
In posting a comment for consideration, users understand that their posts may be edited as necessary to meet system parameters, or the post may not be approved at all. By submitting a comment, you agree to all the rules and guidelines described here.
Most comments are approved or disregarded within one business day.

RSS FeedFacebookTwitter



Advertisement for Fallbrook Healthcare Partners


Subscribe





Most Commented


Reach Local Customers



The Fallbrook Village News The Fallbrook Village News
760-723-7319 - 1588 S. Mission Rd. Suite 200, Fallbrook CA 92028
All contents copyright ©2014
About Us
Earthquake Information
Business Listings
Contact Us
Letter to the Editor
Report a website error
Sitemap
Online Digital Edition
RSS Feeds
Login