Time-lapse video of the Apple Fire

Apple Fire convection column pyrocumulus
Screenshot from the time-lapse video of the convection column on the Apple Fire, shot by Leroy Leggitt.

This video compresses 20 minutes of high intensity wildfire behavior on the Apple Fire into 20 seconds. It was recorded at 4:18 p.m. PDT August 1, 2020 by V. Leroy Leggitt. You can see several areas of condensation at the top of the smoke column as it becomes a pyrocumulus cloud.

The Apple Fire started July 31, 2020 near Cherry Valley, California and is spreading north of Beaumont and Banning. As of August 3, 2020 it has burned over 26,000 acres.

If you are having trouble watching the video, you can see it on YouTube.

(To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the Apple Fire, including the most recent, click here.)

Typos, let us know HERE. And, please keep in mind our commenting ground 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. Google+

7 thoughts on “Time-lapse video of the Apple Fire”

  1. Apple Fire finds it way into the
    San Gorgonio peaks (12, 700 ft) & San Gorgonio Mountain wilderness. An absolutely stunning pristine ancient old growth forest of huge conifers and of course the oldest of all the conifers, the Bristlecone pine.
    This area boasts many incredible alpine facts that are only found here in this transverse range of Southern California.
    1) The largest uninterrupted vertical drop anywhere in the lower 48 is San Jacinto peak (PS aerial tramway run up this peak) a close by in proximity brother to San Gorgonio peak lying just across the wind tunnel of the Beaumont pass and a about a thousand feet shorter in elevation. An amazing plus minus drop of 10,000 ft of skiable north facing vertical backcountry terrain running all the way down to the desert floor, yet amazingly enough the skiing & hiking access to San Jacinto peak is lift serviced by the Palm Springs aerial tramway
    2) Out of all the mountain ranges in the lower 48. All of them, except two, run north to south.
    The San Gabriel/San Bernardino Mountains and the Uinta Mountains of Utah are these two east to west transverse ranges.
    It’s very sad for me to see this incredible ancient forest be consumed by wildfire.
    Natural occurrence?
    Yes, it’s a natural occurrence and at the same time it is definitely not a natural occurrence when it comes to high intensity wildfire, especially when the area here hasn’t seen a natural fire cycle since the Spaniards arrived in the early 1600’s and started our country’s first wildfire suppression program, because the wildfires in this area were so destructive to the cattle ranchos located in the steep rugged foothills, as well as to the life giving watersheds like the Santa Ana river canyon basin towards Big Bear to the north for example, that supplied the domestic water for agriculture and a growing population in the Los Angles basin.
    It’s interesting to note here, just how well the local coastal range Chumash Indians, as well as all of the other California native peoples, understood the use of wildland fire management in the form controlled fire for hunting purposes (meadow burn out operations to improve their views of the big game they hunted) and controlled low intensity fire operations conducted in the extremely flammable high chaparral fuel regions were very common in the safer cool autumn months, to restore and recharge their soils for growing food.
    As a NM Mescalero Apache, whose lived in California extensively and who has worked on small Wildland fire hand crews in New Mexico and in Central California and Tasmania Australia, I learned to appreciate the historical accounting of tribal peoples stories passed down through the generations and fully came to respect what these first fire managers of their lands were capable of doing safely, long before our first US forest service hot shots and ground pounders got the upper hand and contained their first wildfires in this incredible place called “The west”.
    I’ve had many a good day hiking in winter, in the back country, skiing the steep couloirs of San Gorgonio wilderness peaks on just about all the aspects of this magnificent range I called my backyard for years. These are what I call big steep wild mountains, unlike those of the Colorado plateau which are impressive as well, but just not near as tall in shear vertical. Thank the San Andreas fault line for that big accomplishment. Fingers crossed for all of our fire resources to have a safe successful earlier than expected full containment of the

    San Gorgonio peaks 12, 700 ft & SG Mountain wilderness. An absolutely stunning pristine ancient old growth forest of huge conifers and of course the oldest of the conifers, the bristle cone pine.
    This area boasts many incredible alpine facts that are only found here in this transverse range of Southern California.
    1) The largest uninterrupted vertical drop anywhere in the lower 48. Anywhere! A plus minus drop of 10,000 ft of skiable north facing vertical, running all the way to the desert floor.
    2)Out of all the mountain ranges in the lower 48.
    All of them, except two, run north to south.
    The San Gabriel/San Bernardino Mountains and the Uinta Mountains of Utah are these two east to west transverse ranges.
    It’s very sad for me to see this incredible ancient forest be consumed by wildfire.
    Natural occurrence?
    Yes & no, not a natural occurrence of high intensity fire, when the area hasn’t seen a natural fire cycle since the Spaniards arrived in the early 1600’s and started our country’s first wildfire suppression program, because the wildfires in this area were so destructive to the cattle ranchos located in the steep rugged foothills, as well as to the life giving watersheds like the Santa Ana river basin for example, that supplied the domestic water for agriculture and a growing population in the Los Angles basin.
    It’s interesting to note here, just how well the local coastal range Chumash Indians, as well as many of the other California native peoples, understood the use of Wildland fire management in the form controlled fire for hunting purposes (meadow burn out operations to improve their views of the big game they hunted) and controlled low intensity fire operations in the high chaparral regions were very common in the safer cool autumn months, to restore and recharge their soils for growing food.
    As a NM Mescalero Apache, whose lived in California extensively and who has worked on small Wildland fire hand crews in New Mexico and in Central California and Tasmania Australia, I learned to appreciate the historical accounting of tribal peoples stories passed down through the generations and fully came to respect what these first fire managers of their lands were capable of doing safely, long before our first US forest service hot shots and ground pounders got the upper hand and contained their first wildfires in this incredible place called “The west”.
    I’ve had many a good day hiking in winter, in the back country, skiing the steep couloirs of San Gorgonio wilderness peaks on just about all the aspects of this magnificent range I called my backyard for years. These are what I call big steep wild mountains, unlike those of the Colorado plateau which are impressive as well, but just not near as tall in shear vertical. Thank the San Andreas fault line for that big accomplishment. My fingers are surely crossed for the safety all of our fire fighting resources on this particular fire that is burning out of control in some of the most difficult terrain I can think of in the west.
    Let’s hope for an earlier than expected full containment of the fire, that just might save some of that old growth conifer forest from a catostrophic high intensity fires fate that comes from those centuries of full fire suppression.

    -Jamie Baldonado

  2. This has been a difficult season to be a part of. First, we saw what happened with the Bighorn and Bush fires in AZ. Now with the Apple. I get it, this is where fire management has led us to over the past 100+ years. Is this going to be acceptable, for IMTs and local units (forests or districts) to basically allow whole mountain ranges to burn up? We used to put all these fires out, without big airtankers, with hard work, hoselays, and handline. And I know that’s what’s put us in this situation. But there’s got to be a better be way. I’m at the end of my career, but the future of fire needs to be better managed, so we don’t continue to see whole ecosystems destroyed.

    1. I would like to impart some of my thoughts to add to what Jeff is seeing through his eyes, a veteran fire professional that’s nearing the end of good career in the fire services of this country I hope.
      To me, when all the ingredients come together to make a perfect fire storm if you will, just like the one we’re witnessing here with the Apple Fire and also the mega fires he just mentioned in AZ, it’s a natural force, that sometimes cannot be stopped, even by a Cal Fire operation. Arguably, the finest Fire fighting force in this world.
      I just marvel at what Cal Fire manages to take on and accomplish every big destructive fire season in California.
      So many famous massive wildfires come to my mind, but I think the 2017 Thomas Fire was the king of them all for a bunch of reasons.
      After hearing the personal accounts from the Santa Barbara & Ventura county fire professionals repeatedly saying none of them had ever seen anything like it before. I thought to myself that is a bold statement coming from these guys.
      No matter what available fire resources they threw at the Thomas Fire, it didn’t matter. It would retreat at night and creep back up into the steepest of coastal ranges, after the howling sundowner winds
      had diminished and then come charging back down the mountains the next day to consume another large group of houses in a subdivision VC and of course consume more huge swaths of California coastal wilderness acreage when the canyons funneled those seasonal 40-60 mph Santa Ana winds down to the ocean below.
      Awesome, I thought and yet terrifying as well, when you consider how powerless those fire fighting forces were.
      The Thomas Fire wasn’t finished kicking the butts real good of California just yet, when the flames had mostly died down, five days later, almost 5” inches of rain fell on the Thomas Fire burn scar. It was mid December now and I guess you could call this freakish winter cold front that seem to just focus all of its energy & rain and dump it over SB & Ventura counties a normal weather event.
      I thought the flood event that subsequently followed the massive fire was, a most unfair sequence of biblical in proportion, catostrophic events back to back that eventually killed 21 residents of Montecito Ca and sent a torrent of enough ash & mud and rock down the steep burned out barren canyons to bury the 101 fwy six feet under.
      All things considered here and without a doubt in my mind, I think this country’s incredibly talented fire fighting agencies do a remarkable job of protecting and saving what resources we still might have left in the great west here. Irreplaceable natural resources that belong to all of us to enjoy, that are clearly at risk as I write.
      Sadly though, there are these mega fires that can wipe out an entire range like the Catalina mountains recently, the Jemez range of the Pajarito plateau in NM and now the San Gorgonio wilderness range, just to name a few in the south west.
      Time will tell, but nature and climate change definitely have got the upper hand on us for now.

      With every good wish here,
      -JB

      1. When I was younger, I had satisfaction knowing that the hoselays I was on, the handline I helped build, and the fires I helped put out, made a difference. The Cedar and Witch fires erased that for me. Aggressive IA doesn’t help in the long run, but there has to be a better solution. More Rx I guess. As for fires like the Thomas, or even the be Camp, and all the other major east wind events, there is no IA, just get out of the way.

        1. Excellent commentary Jeff,
          Cedar Fire was an incredible force that traveled through so many miles of inland San Diego county suburbs if I have your Cedar Fire correct. That is a common fire name of course.
          Cedar Fire set a new bar for structures at risk, ultimately lost in the thousands. The time lapses of Cedar Fire were some of first wildfire real time video feeds I think. Check it out on the one and only video channel YT. Stunning pyrocumulous carbon release bombs in those videos. I bet it was a very exciting scary unpredictable fast moving brush fire to work on. Total respect for your successful fire mission on Cedar Fire. Wow!
          I had what I thought was a good piece of fire science non fiction. But in the process of a sketchy copy and save and paste operation on a not so smart phone, I lost my fire science manifesto. Maybe that’s a good thing Jeff, because I can’t really hold a candle to what all your amazing years of experience bring to this wonderful platform we call Wildfire Today.
          I thank you kindly for sharing your own thoughts on a myriad of fire management topics & concepts and hopeful Firewise solutions to a really big problem, that is already starting to dismantle the country, one state’s economy at a time.
          Anyone unclear with what I just said, please refer to the 2017 and 2018 Fire seasons in California and the incredible bankruptcy of two gigantic nasty power companies that cut corners on equipment and maintenance of power line transformers and tree trimming operations & luckily for all of us paid for that decision real good and hard, because of multiple guilty verdicts for their unwanted ignitions of those legendary wildfires that we’ve come to know now and totally have our full respect for them now.
          Unprecedented fire disasters? You bet! But unfortunately it’s just getting started to fire up for another tragic fire season some time pretty soon.
          It could be 2020, no se, but we all definitely agree that if those old un burned (for centuries), fuel beds get nicely primed for any unwanted ignitions in Ca, then anything is possible again and people might get trapped and get burned over again in their cars while trying to evacuate and a lot of good people might perish again because of some cities willful ignorance of what wildfire scientists like Bill Gabbert is passionately trying to say in his great articles. An once of fire prevention goes a long long way when it comes to avoiding another deadly blowup of a town like Paradise.
          My apologies to anyone who didn’t appreciate me using WT in my last statement.
          I just used Bill as a good example for what’s needed today! A crucial messenger for the safety of all living creatures that might just be in the path of one of these incredibly fast moving wind driven fire storms, like the ones in Paradise and in Santa Rosa a year earlier.
          There is a ton of data out there on these cities in California documenting that they are clearly in the path of these deadly fires.
          The historical wildfire files documenting earlier blazes is easy to access. The town of Paradise pretty much flipped the finger in the face of fire science professionals advise the town to construct a firebreak. Ten years earlier are fired from the same direction Barreled into the town and claimed 350 homes and i’m not sure of a fatality count. Can you imagine that fair warning?
          The city declined to do the work to build dozer line type fuel break around the town, that we all know just might work to stop a fire, but obviously there are no guarantees here with wildfire ever. (See wind driven Hayman fire in Denver foothills that burned through a huge fuel break and over a crucial reservoir for Denvers drinking water. I can’t remember the name of that Fire I think it’s the 2001 Hayman Fire. Boy was that costly to repair & restore that water supply for Denver? 200 million?)
          Anything is better than what we just saw when that powerline of PG&E blew down and sparked the Camp Fire that took off so fast right up the hill to the Ridgetop town of Paradise Ca.
          It had all the fuel and all the howling Diablo winds it needed to spread that fast and do all the damage it did the town, before becoming just another 100,000 ac mega fire for the record books.
          I couldn’t believe it when I heard that news about skipping out on the expensive fire break. Wow they weren’t smarter than fifth graders in that decision we’re they?
          Furthermore that poor town Council elected to choke off extra lanes of highway running through the downtown section of the Skyway the main artery through town. That proved to be another very deadly mistake on the towns part, because it created that bottleneck of cars we all saw trying to desperately evacuate and most unfortunately the residents got burned over and paid with their lives.
          And now let’s move on another mountain town in California, called Idylwild. This is the story of what that town did to protect itself from a well known threat of a wind driven out of control wildfire barreling into its city limits.
          The town of Idlewild California is no stranger to wildfires. It lies in the foothills of the steep rugged San Jacinto mountains. It’s just across the Beaumont pass windtunnel of intestate 10 and it’s close to where the Apple fire is burning right now. Unlike Paradise California, the town of Idlewild was very smart because they listenEd to the fire science professionals advice on ugly dozer made fire breaks and they spent a lot of their money that they didn’t have on building a virtual dozer line around the town several miles out side the city limits. In 2019 they got their chance to see if the fire break would work. That year an individual set an arson fire near Idylwild, and that became the 30,000 acre Cranston Fire.
          The fire quickly moved into the surrounding forest fuels of Idylwild. It then burned right around the town. This time the fuel break worked and the town of Idylwild, thanked it’s lucky stars that afternoon and life soon went back to a normal way.
          Unlike what happened to poor devastated Paradise California. I’m just pointing out some interesting fire prevention fire science measures that have been battle tested.
          And what I’m seeing coming down the pike with any town or subdivision up in a WUI , definitely needs to wake up and do the best job they can to try to take wildfire out of the picture for them, obviously as much as humanly possible.
          Fuel reduction projects like I just mentioned and all the other ones I haven’t mentioned do make a big difference in a fires intensity and yes, they can do a lot more than that.
          So this brings me to a place where I want to make another point about this great website that we all love, called Wildfire Today.
          Given what I just said about where we are all headed with climate change colliding with centuries of full fire suppression on all public private and tribal lands leading to a building up fuel beds beyond our own beliefs and furthermore here is another thing to consider regarding climate change & it’s promoting the rapid spread of a huge bark beetle blight tree die off, causing hundreds of millions of dead and standing trees in every forest in NA and Canada and AK, this is also a big x factor to contemplate with that standing fuel factor thrown into that insane mix that we’ve got going now.
          So, before we have another Paradise disaster or another Santa Rosa disaster or another Carr fire in Redding where we have a lot of fatalities and a lot of the town incinerated.
          I think that the civilians in these towns and everyone else that could be impacted by another deadly wind driven fire certainly need to take some accountability and start paying attention to the scientific data that’s clearly written on Bill Gabbert’s wall called wildfire today. I rest my case here. I know I’ve made some points that are probably a little but obvious. But maybe they’re not obvious to everyone, because if they were, Santa Rosa or Paradise disasters might not have happened because people were listening to these wildfire news platforms like wildfire today. It’s about situational awareness isn’t it?
          Keep up the good work Bill, we will get there with our mission & we will get a better handle on wildfire and how to learn to lives with it and and at the same time because we’re all a bit more Firewise today, we won’t let it catch any of us off guard so bad that we can’t escape to our safety zones where ever they may.
          If this site could make its way into the main stream part of the media & be able to have an influence on all Americans to just consider thinking about the many ways they can be a little more firewise in their daily lives. To me that would be a remarkable accomplishment and it just might spare us all another unwanted ignition of another unwanted huge mega fire.
          I’ve tried so hard in my neighborhood to take our neighborhood federal firewise group and make it really be a something fun and something that effects changes in my community. It could be a messenger that is a powerful educational tool to encourage my fellow neighbors to do a few simple things to maybe learn the ability to know how to suppress a small fire before it gets too big. It’s not that big of a deal to me to do the following every fire season.
          If possible carry a 15 to 20 pound fire bottle and a shovel in your vehicle, just in case you come across a small fire on the side of the road. It’s already happened to me several times. Because I had a few of these tools I was able to safely suppress these small manageable brush fires.
          This is were 80% of the nations fires start on a road and they get started by humans.
          So why can’t we neighbors run fire scenarios in our minds and then try to take that ignition scenario out of the picture of possibility.
          Lastly here, I think Wildfire today’s crucial free Informational website certainly deserves whatever funding help we subscribing members can manage to share with his hard working team at WT. (I do know from my own personal experience that tips are greatly appreciated by Bill & his team & they absolutely do deserve to receive our kindness in the form of a monetary tip of appreciation and gratitude for a excellent job of fire journalism done well. Stay safe & stay firewise our there everyone-JB

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