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.

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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.

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