Canyon 2 Fire caused by ember from previous fire

The Canyon 2 Fire destroyed approximately 15 homes and damaged 45 others in Anaheim, California

Canyon Fire map
The red dots represent heat detected on the Canyon 2 Fire by a satellite at 2:54 a.m. October 10. The yellow dots were detected at 12:54 p.m. October 9. The Canyon Fire started September 25, and the spread was stopped a few days later. Click to enlarge.

The Canyon 2 Fire that burned 9,200 acres and destroyed or damaged 60 homes started from an ember that blew from the previous Canyon Fire that blackened 4,300 acres south of the 91 Freeway between Anaheim and Corona, California.

The cause of the Canyon 2 Fire was released Monday by Anaheim Fire & Rescue Chief Randy Bruegman. According to the LA Times, Chief Bruegmann said the ember originated about 20 feet inside the fireline of the first fire, the Canyon Fire, and was blown about 50 feet into brush outside the line.

The Canyon fire damaged four homes and started July 25 when a Caltrans road flare was knocked off the 91 Freeway into grass by a passing vehicle. The Canyon 2 Fire began October 9.

Interim Chief of the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA), Patrick McIntosh revealed October 25 that the first full dispatch of fire suppression equipment to the Canyon 2 Fire occurred 71 minutes after the first report of “smoke and flames”. By the time the first units arrived, the new fire was well established. The Chief said he would recommend to the County Board of Supervisors an independent review be conducted of how the fire was handled.

The OCFA has the responsibility under a contract for suppressing vegetation fires within Anaheim city limits. Monday the LA Times reported Anaheim Chief Bruegman said that arrangement is currently under review.

Our Opinion

Of course hindsight is always 20/20, and investigations could confirm this or not — but a person could argue that if the OCFA had done two things differently, there may have been a vastly different outcome for the Canyon 2 Fire.

  1. Thorough mopup of the first fire, the Canyon Fire. Most wildfires are completely extinguished hundreds of feet inside the fireline or perimeter. The ember that the wind blew from the fire 15 days after it started, was only 20 feet from the perimeter.
  2. A reasonably quick and aggressive attack of the new fire, the Canyon 2 Fire, rather than a 71 minute delay.

Author: Bill Gabbert

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

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2 thoughts on “Canyon 2 Fire caused by ember from previous fire”

  1. This is a repeat of the Tunnel Fire (Oakland / Berkley hills Fire,1992).
    On the second day of the original fire the east wind surfaced causing a flare-up near the fire line. This resulted in a new and very destructive fire that set records.
    Aggressive and through mop-up for at least 100 feet in is the standard.
    Coupled with patrol especially when wind event is forecast.

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