Updated map of the Canyon Fire near Corona, California

Our unofficial estimate shows that the fire has burned approximately 2,650 acres.

Above: Map of the Canyon Fire at 7:50 p.m. PDT September 26, 2017.

(Updated at 8:37 a.m. PDT September 27, 2017)

Firefighters have had some success battling the Canyon Fire just southwest of Corona, California. On Tuesday it spread very little, however still remaining unburned islands of vegetation within the perimeter continued to put up smoke.

According to the Wednesday morning official update from the Incident Management Team evacuation orders are still in effect for all areas south of Green River Road from State Route 91 to W. Foothill Parkway, including the Skyline Drive Area. Eight schools in the area will continue to be closed on Wednesday, September 27.

Canyon Fire ma
Canyon Fire map, by the Incident Management Team September 27, 2017.

The updated perimeter map shows that the fire burned well into housing developments on the west side of Corona but the incident management team reports that three structures were damaged but no homes were destroyed. This is a result of several things: outstanding efforts by firefighters who battled the flames and ember showers, the residents who prepared their properties well in advance to be more fire resistant, and the work by local agencies to educate citizens about how to live in a fire-prone environment.

Streets that were heavily impacted by the fire include San Viscaya Circle, San Ponte Road, San Ramon Drive, Oakridge Drive, Elderberry Circle, Goldenbush Drive, Bulrush Circle, Sageleaf Circle, Canyon Crest Drive, Wilderness Drive, and Hidden Hills Way.

Resources assigned to the fire include 272 engines, 10 water tenders, 11 helicopters, 10 dozers, and 30 hand crews for a total of 1,652 personnel. Two of the helicopters, from Orange County and the U.S. Forest Service, are capable of making water drops at night,

Our unofficial estimate shows that the fire has burned approximately 2,650 acres, but Wednesday morning the Incident Management Team is sticking with their 2,000-acre figure they have been using for several days.

Below are some of the best images and videos posted over the last couple of days about the fire on Twitter and Instagram.

Continue reading “Updated map of the Canyon Fire near Corona, California”

Photo: crew on Canyon Fire

This photo of a fire crew on the Canyon Fire near Corona, California was taken by Juana Esquivel for the Facebook group Police Activity in Corona. Used with permission.

It was taken through the closed window in a vehicle. Reflections on the glass created the odd artifacts in the image.

Canyon Fire burns thousands of acres near Corona, California

(Originally published at 8:22 a.m PDT September 2, 2017)

map Canyon Fire
Map showing the approximate location of the Canyon Fire at 1:18 a.m. PDT September 26, based on heat detected by a satellite. Click to enlarge.

The Canyon Fire that started Monday afternoon south of Highway 91 in Orange County, California remained active overnight on the slopes above Corona after spreading into Riverside County. Evacuations are still in effect for areas on the southwest side of the city.

Three night-flying helicopters worked the fire Monday night, dropping water to assist firefighters on the ground. At least eight air tankers will be available on the fire Tuesday, including a DC-10 Very Large Air Tanker.

The fire is burning on the northern end of the Cleveland National Forest near the North Main Divide and has reached Sierra Peak, the home of many communication towers and facilities. Firefighters in that area are reporting long-range spotting, even before 8 a.m.

The last size reported by fire personnel was 2,000 acres.

canyon Fire
Canyon Fire. Screengrab from Fox LA television at 7:32 a.m. PDT September 26, 2017.

The wind slowed Monday night and the relative humidity increased in the valleys below the fire, but at 7:30 a.m. the fire was putting up a large column of smoke southwest of Corona. During the night the humidity remained in the teens at several weather stations in the hills above the valleys at the same elevation as the main portion of the fire. This could account for the very active fire behavior early Tuesday morning even with very little wind.

The weather forecast is not in favor of the firefighters. The wind on Tuesday is expected to increase to 10-16 mph with gusts above 20 mph, while the temperature will be in the high 80s with the relative humidity in the high teens. The wind will be generally from the east until noon, when it should switch to come out of the west and southwest. Wind shifts like this are dangerous for firefighters.

For the latest articles on Wildfire Today about the Canyon Fire go to http://wildfiretoday.com/tag/canyon-fire/

Canyon Fire causes evacuations near Corona, California

Above: The red squares on the map represent heat detected on the Canyon Fire by a satellite at 1:52 p.m. not long after it started September 25, 2017. The arrows directly east of the red squares show the approximate spread of the fire over the next seven hours.

(Updated at 11:58 p.m. PDT September 26, 2017)

The Canyon Fire was reported around 1 p.m. PDT on Monday in southern California near Coal Canyon Road south of Highway 91. It was initially pushed to the southwest by a northeast wind. With single-digit relative humidities it spread rapidly, but by 4 p.m. the wind direction changed and began coming from the opposite direction, the southwest, at 12 to 15 mph which caused the fire to spread east more than two miles over the next five hours, approaching the outskirts of Corona.

Click HERE for the latest articles about the Canyon Fire on Wildfire Today.

By 6:15 p.m. PDT Monday evacuations had been ordered for all homes in Corona south of Green River Road from the 91 Freeway to Trudy Way, including the Orchard Glen Tract.

At about 9 p.m. the Corona Fire Department estimated the fire had burned approximately 2,000 acres.

Canyon Fire helicopter drop
A Type 1 helicopter drops on the Canyon Fire, September 25, 2017. Photo by Anaheim Fire & Rescue.

One of the first heavily populated areas hit by the Canyon Fire were the structures on the west side of Corona on San Ramon Drive and San Alvarado Circle where fire engines from Anaheim and other fire departments battled ember showers for hours, protecting the residences. At times night-flying helicopters supported them with water drops. EPN564 broadcast live several times on Periscope; some of his “scopes” may still be available to view.

Canyon Fire Los Angeles County FD Firehawk helicopter drops water
Los Angeles County FD Firehawk helicopter drops water to assist firefighters on the Canyon Fire, September 25, 2017. Photo by @luissinco via @LACoFireAirOps.

The Canyon Fire appeared to start in Orange County then moved into Riverside County and later the city of Corona. There was a report that the communications sites on Sierra Peak in the Cleveland National Forest were seriously threatened. (see map)

The Orange County Fire Authority reported at 11:30 p.m. Monday that one home had been damaged. In addition, the cargo in a trailer pulled by a semi truck caught fire while traveling on Highway 91. The driver pulled over and disconnected the burning trailer from the tractor.

The Corona Fire Department reported that the helicopter water drops would continue Monday night into early Tuesday morning.
Continue reading “Canyon Fire causes evacuations near Corona, California”

Information released about entrapment on 2016 Canyon Fire

Dozens of firefighters were entrapped and endured a harrowing escape through very thick smoke and flying embers.

Above: an image from the official report, showing the conditions as firefighters were making their way to the safety zone.

The Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center has released a review of the entrapment of dozens of firefighters that occurred six months ago on the Canyon Fire at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

On September 19, 2016, two days after the fire started, approximately 50+ firefighters were assigned to Division Zulu on the north side of Honda Canyon, about a mile east of the site where four Air Force firefighters were entrapped and killed on the Honda Fire in 1977.

Assigned to the division that day were 8 engines, 4 dozers, 1 water tender, and a 20-person hand crew comprised of 3 helitack crews. All were ordered by the Division Supervisor to take refuge in a safety zone.

Canyon Fire entrapment
3-D map of the Canyon Fire looking east. The red line was the perimeter of the Canyon Fire at 11 p.m. PDT September 20, 2016. The white line was the perimeter at approximately 11 p.m. September 19.

After observing conditions that morning last September the tactic decided on was to fire out the ridge on the north side of Honda Canyon, which runs east and west. The main fire was to the south on the other side of the canyon. The operation was going well until the intensity in the burnout increased dramatically; fire whirls developed and the fire began spreading to the west more quickly than the igniters and holders could keep up with it.

The Division Supervisor ordered, “All Division Zulu resources pull back to the safety zone”. Even though some of the personnel were about 600 to 700 yards from the safety zone, the smoke-obscured visibility occasionally made movement difficult or impossible. At times the engines had to stop when they could not see the ground in front of them. Burning embers, some of them fist-sized, pelted the vehicles and the 20 people in the hand crew that were walking to the safety zone.

In the video below, it appears to have taken about 10 minutes to travel the 600 to 700 yards. The recording shows how harrowing it must have been as day turned to night. At least two firefighters were later transported to a hospital suffering from smoke inhalation injuries.

The video is incredible and at times has on the screen views from three different cameras, apparently time-synced. Pretty impressive editing (by Mark Pieper and Tony Petrilli) for a government-produced video. The maps and annotated still images are also very useful.

Canyon Fire entrapment
A screenshot from the video, at minute 7:39.

Some firefighters, approximately two, removed their fire shelters from their gear. One was fully deployed and another was partially unfolded.

From the report:

When asked: “How scared were you on a scale of 1 to 10?” multiple crew members replied “9” and “10.”

We covered the Canyon Fire as it was burning and thought we were aware of the major developments at the incident, but we did not hear about this entrapment until today, March 27, 2017. Maybe we missed it, but it is possible that the fact that it occurred on a military base influenced an apparent desire to keep it low key, even though a California Type 2 Incident Management Team had assumed command of the fire the morning of the incident and, according to the report, “did start Regional notification regarding the shelter deployment”.

The Incident Commander and the Deputy IC were first notified more than three hours after the entrapment.

In spite of the late release of the information, firefighters can benefit from this lessons learned opportunity and the fact that the preparers of the report conducted it in such a way that there were apparently few if any efforts among those involved to “lawyer up” and shut up fearing litigation or prosecution. Many still and video images were made available and at least enough of the firefighters were willing to talk about what happened to allow a useful report to be completed.

Maybe the way this review was conducted can be a template to reverse the recent trend of investigations that are not as useful as they could be.

Honda Fire Fatalities 1977

On September 21, 2016 a Ventura County Fire Department firefighter was killed in a vehicle accident while responding to the Canyon Fire. Fire Engineer Ryan Osler, a passenger in a water tender, lost his life. The driver of the truck self-extracted and was transported to a local hospital with minor injuries.

Articles on Wildfire Today tagged “Canyon Fire”.

Canyon Fire on Vandenberg Air Force Base slows; new fire burns 200+ acres on the base

(UPDATED at 9:50 a.m. PDT September 23, 2016)

Canyon Washington fire
Map of the Canyon Fire and a new fire (Washington Fire) at 1 a.m. PDT September 23, 2016.

The 12,518-acre Canyon Fire on Vandenberg Air Force Base has not spread over the last 24 hours.

However a new fire, named Washington, broke out on Thursday east of the 15,000-foot runway on the base and burned vigorously until it was knocked down by firefighters. As of 1 a.m. Friday it had blackened about 204 acres and is being described by the Air Force as controlled. The preliminary cause is a powerline downed by strong winds. It generated a 0.6-acre spot fire over a mile south of the main blaze.


(Originally published at 1:56 p.m. PDT September 21, 2016)

3-D map Canyon Fire
3-D map of the Canyon Fire looking east. The red line was the perimeter of the Canyon Fire at 11 p.m. PDT September 20, 2016. The white line was the perimeter approximately 24 hours before. Click to enlarge.

According to overnight mapping the Canyon Fire on Vandenberg Air Force Base on the southern California coast has burned 12,353 acres, an increase of over 2,000 acres from the previous day’s report. Approximately 1,056 firefighters from Vandenberg AFB, U.S. Forest Service, CAL FIRE, and Santa Barbara County Fire are combating the blaze.

Crews saw very little growth in the fire overnight, due in part to the heavy marine layer and calm winds. This allowed ground teams to further construct and improve containment lines along base boundaries and key rocket launch support facilities. Firefighting aircraft are being used today to assist firefighters ahead of anticipated increases in wind speed, which could gust as high as 30 mph later in the week.

Ventura County Fire Department reported that Fire Engineer Ryan Osler lost his life this morning in a line of duty vehicle accident while assigned to the fire.