Update on southern California fires

Wally Skalij photo. August 27, 2009.

Here is an update on the four major fires currently burning in southern California. (Some of the key numbers and facts for the Cottonwood and Station fire were updated at 3:43 p.m. and 7:20 p.m. August 28.)

  1. The Station fire started on the Angeles Crest Highway, above La Canada Flintridge in the Angeles National Forest. It has burned 1,200 5,000 5,500 acres, is very active, and is 0% 5% contained. The fire jumped Highway 2 and into the Arroyo Seco area overnight. It is threatening Mount Wilson, which has major communications facilities. It is burning south and west towards the city of La Canada-Flintridge, West towards Mt. Lukens, North towards Grizzly Flat Road, East toward Arroyo Seco, and Dark Canyon. Some voluntary evacuations are in effect for the northern portions of La Canada-Flintridge. Dietrich’s Type 1 Incident Management Team has been mobilized for this fire.
  2. The Morris fire near Azusa has burned about 2,000 2,168 acres and is 60% 85% contained. Ron Woychak’s Incident Management Team is assigned.
  3. The RPV (or PV) Portuguese fire in the Rancho Palos Verdes area started Thursday night and has burned about 100 125 230 acres and damaged two outbuildings. It is 35% 70% 90% contained. The fire will be more accurately mapped this morning and the acreage and containment will change. This fire burned very intensely in an urban setting and the fact that only two outbuildings were damaged is due to good fire clearance around the homes, night-flying helicopters, and great efforts by firefighters.
  4. The Cottonwood fire east of Hemet has burned 1,000 1,200 2,200acres and is 5% 10% contained. Forella’s Wakoski’s Incident Management Team has been ordered assumed command of the fire at noon today. Los Angeles live television this morning showed firefighters conducting some very effective burnouts in the relatively flat terrain, aided by gentle winds. The Martin Mars air tanker is making drops this morning.

The LA Times has an unofficial map showing all four fires (if you zoom out).

Station fire. Photo: InciWeb

Night-flying helicopters were very effective Thursday night on the Portuguese fire in Rancho Palos Verdes. They were using two from LA County and three from the LA Fire Department. As far as we know these are the only two agencies in the United States that use helicopters at night for fighting fire. San Diego County was considering night flying for their helicopters; we’re not sure if they got that program running.

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