New fire starts 10 miles away from the Cranston Fire

The two fires are burning southeast of Hemet, California

(UPDATED at 5:20 a.m. PDT July 27, 2018)

Below is an updated map of the Cranston Fire, showing data collected at 10:49 PDT July 26. Click on the image to see a larger version.

map Cranston Fire
Map of the Cranston Fire, showing data collected at 10:49 PDT July 26. Click on the image to see a larger version. Product of the Incident Management Team.

(UPDATED at 4:03 p.m. PDT July 26, 2018)

Cranston and Ribbon Fires
The view of the Cranston and Ribbon Fires, from High Point at 3:29 p.m. PDT July 26, 2018.

Now instead of one huge convection column of smoke on the San Bernardino National Forest southeast of Hemet, California there are two.  The second fire, named Ribbon, was discovered around mid-day Thursday.  Air tankers were sent to the new fire to hopefully knock it down and keep it from becoming a second major fire. Firefighters on the ground and in the air did slow it down, but priorities on the Cranston Fire and a shortage of lead planes and air tankers resulted some aircraft moving to the Cranston Fire. The Ribbon Fire later picked up in intensity and developed a large smoke column 10 miles southeast of the Cranston Fire. The Ribbon Fire is northwest of the small community of Ribbonwood off Highway 74.

Late Thursday afternoon a spokesperson for the San Bernardino National Forest said the Cranston Fire has burned approximately 7,500 acres.

Cranston and Ribbon Fires
Map showing the location of the Cranston and Ribbon Fires. The dots represent heat detected by a satellite as late as 3:51 p.m. PDT July 26, 2018. Click to enlarge.

Firefighters on the Cranston Fire Thursday afternoon were very concerned about the convection column collapsing, which would create a powerful downdraft, possibly resulting in a dramatic and sudden change of wind direction — a very dangerous situation, pushing the fire in new directions. Supervisors were warned to maintain close accountability of their personnel and to be prepared to withdraw on very short notice. Firefighters 10 miles away on the Ribbon Fire might even be affected by the collapse of the large column.
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Cranston Fire causes evacuations east of Hemet, California

The fire is threatening the community of Idyllwild

Above: 3-D map view of the Cranston Fire. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 2:10 p.m. PDT July 25, 2018.

(Originally published at 7 p.m. PDT July 25, 2018)

Within of about two hours of the Cranston Fire starting at noon today 8 miles east of Hemet, California, it had already burned two thousand acres and had developed a huge smoke column topped by a pyrocumulus cloud.

The fire is burning close to the mountain community of Idyllwild, which has been ordered to evacuate along with Pine Grove, Fern Valley, and portions of Mountain Center.

Highway 74 is closed from the city of Hemet to Lake Hemet.

At 6:30 PDT fire officials estimated it had burned approximately 3,000 acres, but getting a good estimate is difficult with the rapid spread of the fire and the enormous amount of smoke being generated.

map Cranston Fire
Map of the Cranston Fire. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 2:10 p.m. PDT July 25, 2018.

There are reports that multiple fires were set today in this general area. One arson suspect was apprehended in Hemet.

map Cranston Fire satellite
Satellite photo of Southern California, showing the Cranston Fire, July 25, 2018.