California: Etiwanda Fire ignites during wind event

Map of Etiwanda Fire
Map of the Etiwanda Fire, May 2, 2014. Provided by the Incident Management Team.

(UPDATE at 1:55 p.m. MDT, May 2, 2014)

The Incident Management Team is reporting good progress on the Etiwanda fire east of Los Angeles. Better mapping shows that the fire has burned 2,190 acres and the Team is calling it 53 percent contained. The perimeter held successfully overnight. A small flare up occurred near the Smith drainage but was quickly put out. 

The map of the Etiwanda Fire, above, was updated today, May 2.

All mandatory and voluntary evacuations have been lifted and all schools were in session on Friday.

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(UPDATE at 7:55 p.m. PDT, May 1, 2014)

The Incident Management Team is reporting that the Etiwanda Fire east of Los Angeles has been mapped at 1,627 acres, and they are calling it 53 percent contained; 929 firefighters & support personnel are assigned.

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(Originally published at 9:50 a.m. May 1, 2014)

The first report of the Etiwanda Fire north of Ranch Cucamonga, California came in at 8:08 Wednesday morning while Santa Ana winds were gusting at 60 to 80 mph. One gust during the day was recorded at 101 mph which qualifies as category 2 hurricane strength. Mandatory evacuations were ordered for 1,650 homes but were cancelled at 5;30 p.m. Voluntary Evacuations are still in effect for Thursday morning for residents north of Hillside Road between Haven Avenue and Milliken Avenue.

Incident Commander Norm Walker is calling the fire 1,000 acres and 10 percent contained.

Today a Red Flag warning continues to be in effect with forecasters expecting northeast winds of 25 to 35 mph with gusts of 40 to 65 mph. The winds will moderate by late afternoon, decreasing to less than 10 mph.The relative humidity will bottom out at 5 percent today and will remain below 20 percent until Friday night. 

The strong winds on Wednesday made it unsafe and impractical for helicopters and fixed wing air tankers to assist firefighters on the ground. Even if they could have safely navigated 150 feet above the rugged terrain in the gusty conditions, the wind would have blown the retardant or water far away from the targets. Strong winds again on Thursday will most likely prevent aerial resources from working the fire, at least until late afternoon when conditions are expected to settle down.

On Tuesday, in spite of a weather forecast for the day of wind gusts exceeding 80 mph, single-digit humidities, and record 95 degree heat, the National Weather Service did not declare a Red Flag Warning until 9:35 Tuesday morning.

 

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, Bill Gabbert now writes about it from the Black Hills. Google+

1 thought on “California: Etiwanda Fire ignites during wind event”

  1. The models are starting to “advertise” another offshore event next weekend of varying significance. As each model run comes in, it is important to keep heads up with the drought and fuels conditions…. and the changing weather conditions.

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