California: Border Fire forces evacuation of additional areas, including Lake Morena Village

(UPDATED at 8:15 a.m. PDT June 24, 2016)

map Border Fire
Perimeter of the Border Fire (in red) at approximately 9 p.m. June 23, 2016.The white line was the perimeter two days before. Click to enlarge.

The growth of the Border Fire east of Potrero, California has slowed in recent days. CAL FIRE reports that it has burned 7,483 acres.


(UPDATED at 7:20 a.m. PDT June 22, 2016)

map border fire
Map of the Border Fire at approximately 3 a.m. PDT, June 22, 2016. Click to enlarge.

The Border Fire at Potrero, California, 18 miles east of the greater San Diego area, continued to spread to the east on Tuesday, adding another 480 acres. CAL FIRE is reporting that it has burned a total of 6,500 acres, two residences, and 11 outbuildings.

A spot fire 1.2 miles northeast of the main fire had burned 40 acres as of early Wednesday morning.

Resources assigned to the fire include 1,604 personnel, 200 engines, 40 hand crews, 6 helicopters, 12 water tenders, and 7 dozers.

Highway 94 and the Pacific Crest Trail are closed.


CAL FIRE reported at 7 p.m. on June 21 the revised size of the Border Fire was 6,020 acres.


(UPDATED at 5:25 p.m. PDT June 21, 2016)

New evacuations were ordered for the Border Fire in San Diego County at 2 p.m on Tuesday June 21. It includes Lake Morena Village northwest of Campo, California.

Border Fire new evac

CAL FIRE reported that there are 1,484 personnel assigned, plus 158 engines, 32 hand crews, 6 helicopters, 12 water tenders, and 3 dozers.

The mandatory evacuations have been placed in parts of the city of Duarte and in the national monument still remain in effect.


(UPDATED at 6:10 a.m. PDT June 21, 2016)

Border Fire perimeter map
Border Fire perimeter at 9 p.m. PDT June 20, 2016. Click to enlarge.

CAL FIRE’s latest estimate on the size of the Border Fire at Potrero, California was 7,500 acres late Monday afternoon. Our very rough analysis of Monday night’s mapping data puts it much closer to 6,000 acres … but it may eventually grow into the larger figure.

The fire has gone through or past several small communities with names like Dog Patch, and has come within two miles of Campo, which was the first evacuation shelter. When the fire grew closer to Campo, the shelter was moved to the rest area on Buckman Springs Road at Interstate 8, and was later relocated to El Cajon at the Los Coches Creek Middle School, 9669 Dunbar Lane.

According to CAL FIRE mandatory evacuations are still in effect for the communities of Potrero, Forest Gate, Star Ranch, Cowboy Ranch, Dog Patch, & Canyon City. Highway 94 remains closed. 

The number of structures destroyed remains at four outbuildings. There have been three minor injuries to firefighters.

Continue reading “California: Border Fire forces evacuation of additional areas, including Lake Morena Village”

A virtual aerial tour of the site of the Cedar Fire in Arizona

This is virtual flyover of the site of the Cedar Fire 10 miles south of Show Low, Arizona, showing the fire perimeter as of 10 p.m. MDT June 17. There is also a quick stop at the Show Low Airport with photos of the helicopters that assisted firefighters on the ground by dropping water.

Firefighters in Sicily battling dozens of wildfires

Officials believe they were intentionally set by the mafia, developers, or even forest rangers

wildfires Sicily
Photo via Naval Air Station Sigonella

Firefighters have been battling dozens of wildfires on the island of Sicily that broke out on Thursday during a period of “sirocco”, strong winds that originate in the Sahara. Since the fires started at around the same time, it is likely that arson is to blame, and perhaps coordinated arson.

Below are excerpts from an article in The Telegraph:


“Authorities have pointed the blame at mafia mobsters allied with unscrupulous developers who hope to build villas and holiday homes on the torched land, as well as disgruntled forest rangers who were recently sacked after being found guilty of collusion with Cosa Nostra.

The fires broke out within hours of each other on Thursday, suggesting that they were deliberately lit in a carefully coordinated plan.

“We don’t yet have the proof but we suspect that there are criminal interests behind these fires,” said Rosario Crocetta, the governor of Sicily. “It horrifies me that criminals in Sicily would set fire to national parks and centuries-old woodland, but there are speculative interests behind the fires.”

wildfires Sicily
Photo via Naval Air Station Sigonella


Fires also broke out around Messina and in the Nebrodi national park in eastern Sicily.

Last month the park’s director narrowly escaped an assassination attempt when armed men ambushed his car at night and sprayed it with bullets.

The murder attempt was apparent retribution for Giuseppe Antoci’s efforts to crack down on mafia bosses making millions of euros by defrauding EU funds intended for farmers living within the park.

There was speculation that the arsonists might include some of the dozens of forest rangers who were sacked two months ago after they were found to have links with the mafia or to have deliberately set fires in the past, apparently as a way of guaranteeing that their fire-fighting services would be used.

Sicily employs around 23,000 full-time and auxiliary forest rangers, an enormous number considering its size and the fact that it is not a particularly forested part of Italy.

Critics say many were appointed as part of a corrupt system of political cronyism, with politicians able to rely on the votes of people they find jobs for.”

wildfires Sicily
Photo via Naval Air Station Sigonella

New USFS Fire Director selected

Shawna Lagarza Tom Harbour
Shawna Legarza (left) the Director of Fire and Aviation for the U.S. Forest Service’s California Region, and Tom Harbour, the Director of Fire and Aviation for the Forest Service, at the Rose Parade, January 1, 2015.

Shawna Legarza has been selected as the national Director of Fire and Aviation for the US Forest Service. She will replace Tom Harbour who retired at the end of 2015. Currently Ms. Legarza is the regional Fire Director for the Forest Service’s California region. She will start in the position on July 4.

Ms. Legarza launched her federal career with the Bureau of Land Management in 1989 as an engine crew member in Elko, NV. A short time later, she joined the Forest Service and worked as a hotshot crew member in Carson City, NV, and a Hotshot Superintendent in Durango, CO. She subsequently took on a number of leadership positions in fire and aviation that include District Fire Management Officer on the San Juan National Forest, CO, and Forest Fire Management Officer on the San Bernardino National Forest in Southern California.

Ms. Legarza earned a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Kinesiology at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and Doctorate of Psychology at the University of the Rockies, Colorado Springs, CO.

She will be replaced in California Region 5 by Acting Fire & Aviation Director Patty Grantham, Forest Supervisor of the Klamath National Forest. Ms. Grantham works closely on the national line officer team for fire and has received awards for her fire leadership in building community partnerships and in restoring fire-adapted landscapes. She has worked on six national forests across the West and holds a bachelor’s degree in Forest Science from the University of Washington.

Red Flag Warnings, June 16, 2016

wildfire Red Flag Warning 6-16-2016

The National Weather service has posted Red Flag Warnings for areas in New Mexico and Colorado. The weather in Utah apparently did not meet the Red Flag criteria.

The maps were current as of 7:34 a.m. MDT on Thursday. Red Flag Warnings can change throughout the day as the National Weather Service offices around the country update and revise their forecasts and maps. For the most current data visit this NWS site.

Dog Head Fire continues to spread to the east near Chilili, New Mexico

(UPDATE at 1:47 p.m. MDT June 19, 2016)

Tanker 160 drops on Dog Head Fire
Air tanker 160, an RJ85, drops on the Dog Head Fire in New Mexico. Undated InciWeb photo.

The Dog Head fire, 3 miles north of Tajique, New Mexico, continued to spread to the east over the last two days, adding approximately 1,500 acres, to bring the size up to 17,617 acres. The fire is working its way through fingers of timber on ridges that are separated by grassy areas in the flatter ground in between the ridges.

Weather forecast Dog Head Fire
Weather forecast for the Dog Head Fire area. NWS. Click to enlarge.

Higher humidity moderated fire behavior on Saturday but the forecast for Sunday includes 13 percent RH, temperature about 90 degrees, and wind out of the southeast at 9 mph. Weather forecasters expect 14 mph southwest winds on Monday with slightly higher humidity.

Map Dog Head Fire
Map of the Dog Head Fire at 4 a.m. MDT June 19, 2016 (the red line). The white line is from 3:30 a.m. MDT June 17, 2016. Click to enlarge.


(UPDATE at 8:35 p.m. MDT June 17, 2016)

The Dog Head Fire 17 miles southeast of Albuquerque was less active on Friday than on previous days. This was due in part to lighter winds and the fact that in some areas on the east side the fire has spread beyond the timber into much lighter fuels where it can be attacked more successfully by firefighters and aircraft.

A satellite overflight at 1:30 p.m. on Friday detected very few heat sources. But stronger winds in the late afternoon may have changed that situation.


(UPDATED at 6:42 a.m. MDT June 17, 2016)

Map Dog Head fire
Map of the perimeter of the Dog Head fire at 3:30 a.m. MDT June 17, 2016.

The incident management team reports that 24 single residences and 21 other minor structures have been destroyed in the Dog Head Fire near Chilili, New Mexico.

On Thursday the fire continued to push towards the east and northeast toward Chilili Land Grant. Approximately 16,000 acres have burned, according to the IMT.

Hot, dry and unstable weather is in the forecast from Friday into the weekend.

Continue reading “Dog Head Fire continues to spread to the east near Chilili, New Mexico”