West Fire burns numerous structures at Alpine, California

West fire alpine CA

Above: The West Fire at Alpine, California. Screenshot from KUSI video.

(UPDATED at 4:37 p.m. PDT July 6, 2018)

CAL FIRE said the spread of the West Fire has been virtually stopped, but there is still quite a bit of active fire between structures that is threatening buildings. Firefighters will be working throughout the night to mitigate the threat.

(Originally published at 3:33 p.m. PDT July 6, 2018)

A destructive wildfire broke out during a heat wave in Southern California Friday. As the temperature in eastern San Diego County exceeded 100 degrees the West Fire started on the east side of Alpine and quickly spread through residential areas south of Interstate 8.

At 3:30 p.m. the fire had burned approximately 350 acres.

In viewing video shot by KUSI News, it appeared that many structures were likely victim to the flames.

There may have been a close call involving an inmate crew. The tweet below has an unfortunate choice of words, but the crew appears to be moving as rapidly as possible away from advancing flames.

The screenshot below from the KUSI video (at -41:20) was probably just after the crew “escaped” the flames only to have to confront traffic on the busy lanes of Interstate 8 which appeared to be fully open. They can be seen running at first.

inmate crew west fire alpine
An inmate crew appeared to have a close call on the West Fire on Interstate 8 at Alpine, CA July 6, 2018.

The video, if you can deal with the constantly panning camera, shows many examples of structures burning. I skimmed through and while I saw a couple of places with retardant on the ground, I only saw one air tanker, a 1,200-gallon S-2T, making a drop. I didn’t see any helicopters, but there could have been many aircraft that I missed or didn’t appear in front of the camera. Eight air tankers were reloading with retardant at Medford, Oregon Thursday while fighting the Klamathon Fire just south of the California/Oregon border.

West fire alpine CA
West Fire. Screenshot from KUSI video.
West fire alpine CA
West Fire. Screenshot from KUSI video.

From the photos below it appears that the fire burned up against the back yard of the USFS Descanso Ranger District office at 3348 Alpine Blvd. and was also very active across the street.

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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.

One thought on “West Fire burns numerous structures at Alpine, California”

  1. A few more homes in the area since my last visit to Alpine. Bill, do you miss it? Let’s hope everyone stays safe and goes home tired but healthy.


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