Summit fire, pushed by strong winds near Banning, California

Summit fire, Banning Calif

Summit fire, 3:49 p.m. PT, May 1, 2013 ABC7 screen grab. (Click to enlarge)

( UPDATED at 9:28 p.m. PT, May 2, 2013)

There was no change in the size of the Summit fire on Thursday, but by 8 p.m. firefighters called it 55 percent contained, up from 40 percent at 2:37 p.m. today.

This will be our last update of the Summit Fire, unless there is a significant increase in the size of the fire.

****

(UPDATED at 3:41 p.m. PT, May 2, 2013)

The fire is still described by the Riverside County Fire Department as having burned 2,956 acres, which is the same size as Wednesday night. At 2:37 p.m. the incident commander said it is 40 percent contained and they “are making good progress on the fire line”.

****

(UPDATED at 8:00 a.m. PT, May 2, 2013)

The Summit Fire east of Los Angeles near Banning and Beaumont has not grown significantly overnight, according to the Riverside County Fire Department, and remains at 2,956 acres. All evacuation orders have been lifted and the containment has increased to 40 percent.

The weather forecast for Thursday will be very conducive to rapid fire spread with winds expected to be out of the east at 26 to 30 mph with gusts to 48 mph. After 9 a.m. the relative humidity will drop below 10 percent, bottoming out at 5 percent. The Red Flag Warning for the area and the strong winds will affect the fire area until Friday at 6 p.m.

****

(UPDATE at 11:30 p.m. PT, May 1, 2013)

The Riverside County Fire Department reports that the Summit fire near Banning and Beaumont east of Los Angeles has now burned 2,956 acres and is 35 percent contained. The rate of spread of the fire has slowed compared to how fast it was moving during the daylight hours. The winds measured at the Cabazon weather station have diminished to 10 mph, gusting to 13 out of the east, but the relative humidity remains very, very low, at 4 percent and should not exceed 10 or 11 percent overnight. The weather forecast for Thursday remains the same as we reported earlier, with east winds of 25 to 34 mph with gusts to 62 mph, along with single digit relative humidities and no chance of rain.

****

(UPDATE at 4:27 p.m. PT, May 1, 2013)

The Riverside County Fire Department at 4:10 reported that the Summit Fire near Banning and Beaumont has grown to 1,500 acres.

If firefighters are not able to stop the spread of the Summit fire today (and that is going to be very tough to do) the weather on Thursday and Friday is not going to help. The very strong east-component winds are expected to continue and should be even stronger on Thursday at 25 to 34 mph with gusts to 62 mph, along with single digit relative humidities. Friday will be about the same with winds of 23 mph gusting to 41.

****

(UPDATE at 4:16 p.m. PT, May 1, 2013)

Firefighters near a house on the Summit fire a few seconds after a retardant drop by a P2V air tanker. (screen grab from ABC7 video)

Firefighters on the Summit Fire near the U.S. Forest Service fire station at Banning, few seconds after a retardant drop by a P2V air tanker. (screen grab from ABC7 video)

****

(Originally published at 3:25 p.m. PT, May 1, 2013. Photo updated at 3:49 p.m. PT.) 

Dozens of hand crews and dozens of engines are on order for a rapidly spreading wildfire in southern California near Banning. The fire is burning intensely and is growing very quickly.  At least one home has burned as a 15 to 20 mph wind, with gusts above 30, push the fire through the California brush. As we reported earlier today, the area is under a Red Flag Warning for hot, dry, windy weather. Below are the 2:14 p.m. PT weather observations for the nearby weather station at Cabazon. Note that the relative humidity was 5 percent.

Cabezon weather obs

At 3:25 p.m. PT the Riverside County Fire Department (RCFD) said the fire, which was reported at 12:38 p.m. today, had burned about 200 acres and had no containment. That acreage figure is going to be much higher later in the day. The RCFD said six air tankers and six helicopters are working the fire or en route. Some communities are under evacuation orders. The RCFD has more information about evacuation.

As this is written, a local TV station, ABC7, is live-streaming large, excellent quality video images of the fire, however this service will probably come and go as the helicopter has to refuel and the news priorities of the station change. It’s the best live-streaming news video I’ve ever seen. Fox in LA also has intermittent live video.

We will update this article as this fire continues to grow.

Below is a map of the fire, as detected by a satellite at 1:47 p.m. PT May 1, 2013.

Map Summit fire Banning

The red squares represent heat on the Summit Fire detected by a satellite at 1:47 p.m. PT, May 1, 2013. The fire is near Banning, CA

Share
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , by Bill Gabbert. Bookmark the permalink.

About Bill Gabbert

Wildland fire has been a major part of Bill Gabbert’s life for several decades. After growing up in the south, he migrated to southern California where he lived for 20 years, working as a wildland firefighter. Later he took his affinity for firefighting to Indiana and eventually the Black Hills of South Dakota where he was the Fire Management Officer for a group of seven national parks. Today he is the creator and owner of WildfireToday.com and Sagacity Wildfire Services and serves as an expert witness in wildland fire. If you are interested in wildland fire, welcome… grab a cup of coffee and put your feet up. Google+

6 thoughts on “Summit fire, pushed by strong winds near Banning, California

    • Thanks Ken. I added that to the photo’s caption. I saw the drop live on the video stream. The firefighters could not be seen during the drop; they were probably taking refuge either behind or inside the structure, and appeared just after the drop.

      • Live fuel moisture is at late July levels with no blooming and little new growth this year in chamise…. several fires since January. It is only a signal of a very long fire season that never really ended from last year.

        Very similar to the 2002/2003 rainfall years and fire seasons.

        Time will tell, but things are shaping up to be pretty significant…..AND I DON’T predict fire seasons. All depends on ignitions and resource availability.

  1. It’s totally obvious that an arsonist is on the loose in the Inland Empire area of Riverside County. Too many suspicious fires, all in the same area. No lightning in the area each fire. All starting off of secluded roads. Some sicko keeps starting them, there is NO DOUBT! This is getting absolutely ridiculous!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>