California: San Gabriel Complex of Fires near Los Angeles

(UPDATED at 6:10 a.m. PDT June 22, 2016)

San Gabriel Complex Mt Wilson
The area of the San Gabriel Complex as seen from Mt. Wilson at 6:05 a.m. PDT June 22, 2016. The fires are on the right side of the picture on the far side of the ridge. Very little smoke is rising above the inversion. UCLA photo. Click to enlarge.

The activity on the Fish and Reservoir Fires that comprise the San Gabriel Complex near Los Angeles has lessened over the last 24 hours. The Fish Fire is still generating heat near the top of the fire and on the southwest side.

The combined acreage for the two fires is now 4,900 acres according to the U.S. Forest Service — 1,200 acres for the Reservoir Fire and 3,700 acres for the Fish Fire. Approximately 1,040 personnel are currently committed to these fires.

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

In spite of predictions otherwise, the two fires have still not merged and are over a mile apart.

Tuesday night firefighters continued structure protection along the south perimeter above Duarte. On Wednesday hand crews will hold and improve the fire perimeter, patrol along Highway 39, and seek opportunities to build indirect dozer lines along the Red Box Road.

weather forecast San Gabriel Complex fires
Weather forecast for the area of the San Gabriel Complex of Fires, generated at 6:30 a.m. PDT June 22, 2016. NWS.

With the exception of the wind, which could be an issue, the weather forecast for Wednesday favors firefighters, with moderate temperatures and relative humidity. However the wind will be out of the southwest at 8 to 11 mph with gusts up to 17 mph.

Map San Gabriel Complex
Map of the San Gabriel Complex at 3 a.m. PDT June 22, 2016. Click to enlarge.


(UPDATE at 9:232a.m. PDT, June 21, 2016)

At a 9 a.m. press conference fire officials at the Fish and Reservoir Fires said the expected nighttime downslope winds that intensified after 4 a.m. caused an increase in fire activity, pushing the Fish Fire down the steep slopes above Duarte, California. With the assistance of at least one water-dropping night-flying helicopter firefighters were able to prevent the loss of any structures.

After a Chief with Los Angeles County Fire Department said they put out the fire at the base of the slopes behind the residences early Tuesday morning, he said there is no containment in that area or any other area on the fire. He also said he does not foresee any relaxation of the evacuation order in the near future.

Fire officials expect the two fires to merge. The incident is now known as the San Gabriel Complex.


(UPDATE at 7:54 a.m. PDT June 21, 2016)

Map Fish Reservoir Fires
Map showing heat detected on the Fish and Reservoir Fires at 3:23 a.m. PDT June 21, 2016. Click to enlarge.

The Fish and Reservoir Fires near Glendora, Azuza, and Duarte in southern California have not grown together. According to satellite heat-sensing data they were still about 1.3 miles apart at 3:23 Monday morning.

The U.S. Forest Service reports that the size estimates of the fires are 3,000 acres for the Fish Fire and 2,400 acres for the Reservoir Fire.

A Type 2 incident management team with Mike Wakoski as Incident Commander is assigned to both fires. They had an inbriefing scheduled for 8 p.m. on Monday.


(UPDATE at 9:40 p.m. PDT June 20, 2016)

The U.S. Forest Service reports the Fish Fire has burned 3,000 acres and the Reservoir fire, 1,500 acres. LA County reports that as of 8:30 p.m. the two fires had not merged… yet. They were still 1.5 miles apart. But at that time the Fish Fire was 2,000 acres.


(Originally published at 4:45 p.m. PDT June 20, 2016. Updated at 5:33 p.m. PDT June 20, 2016)

Map Fish and Reservoir Fires
Map showing heat detected on the Fish and Reservoir Fires at 1:21 p.m. PDT June 20, 2016. Click to enlarge.

Two wildfires started today near Los Angeles and both got off to a roaring start. The map above shows the location of the fires at 1:21 PDT on Monday,  about two to three hours after they started. They have grown substantially since then.

Reservoir Fire
Reservoir and/or Fish Fire. Screen capture from KABC at 5:11 p.m. PDT 6-20-2016.

The Reservoir Fire ignited at about 11 a.m. after a vehicle accident on Highway 39 near Morris Reservoir on the steep slopes above Glendora, California. Within about three hours it had burned 1,200 acres and required the evacuation of San Gabriel Canyon recreation area. At 5:30 p.m. it was estimated at 1,500 acres.

Highway 39 is closed. The communities of Mountain Cove, Camp Williams, and Glendora Mountain Road are under a mandatory evacuation.

It is being fought by about 300 personnel from the U.S. Forest Service alone, plus additional personnel from other departments.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Forest Service used the term “extreme fire behavior” when describing the Reservoir Fire.

About an hour later the Fish Fire broke out seven miles southwest of the Reservoir Fire near Brookridge and Opal Canyon roads in Duarte. At last report it had burned 2,000 acres.

Below is an excerpt from an article at KTLA:

The brush fires broke out on the hottest day of a heat wave in Southern California; the triple-digit temperatures coupled with lower humidity levels had prompted the National Weather Service earlier in the day to warn of extreme fire danger in the region through Tuesday.

It was 112 degrees in the the Morris Dam area just after noon, with humidity at 8 percent, according to the National Weather Service. A southwest wind of 5 to 10 mph, with gusts as high 15 mph in the evening, was forecast.


More photos of the Reservoir and Fish Fires.

Typos, let us know HERE, and specify which article. Please read the commenting rules before you post a comment.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

7 thoughts on “California: San Gabriel Complex of Fires near Los Angeles”

  1. Is there anything we can do to help the firefighters in these cases? I’ve been looking for ways to volunteer to help bring water to the firefighters or be helpful to the people displaced by these fires in any other way. (I wouldn’t be any use as an actual volunteer firefighter, but want to help!) Let me know if there is someone organizing!

    1. One of the two fires, the Reservoir Fire, was caused by a vehicle accident. The vehicle left the road and traveled far down into a drainage and caught fire, just like you see in the movies.

  2. Are you aware of drones being used in the fire fighting efforts at all (in Arizona or L.A.)?

    1. Not recently used by the firefighting agencies, no. However, privately operated toy drones have illegally intruded into the closed air space above some fires in Utah and other areas in recent weeks, conflicting with firefighting aircraft which had to be grounded until the toy drones left the area.

      1. Drones are a fabulous tool for observation that will hopefully soon be used in more firefighting efforts. Meanwhile, the people who are operating those “toy” drones must use some common sense and stay away! Thanks for your info.

        1. Your are correct. Drones have been used by firefighting agencies a handful of times in the last few years and their worth has been proven. There is very, very slow progress being made in that direction within the federal agencies. The FAA dragging its feet on establishing regulations is part of the problem.

          In April there was a test of the use of a drone to ignite a prescribed fire.

          For more information check out the articles on Fire Aviation tagged Drone/UAV/UAS.


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