Two escaped prescribed fires in California

Calvert Fire map
Map showing location of the Calvert Fire March 1, 2021

The spread of an escaped prescribed fire 11 miles south of Big Pine, California was stopped Monday on the east side of Hwy. 395 by firefighters from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The plan by the CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit was to ignite the project at 8 a.m. Monday but a change in wind direction surprised the crews and caused the blaze to escape the project boundary and was declared an escape at 11 a.m.

The new fire named Calvert was mapped at 262 acres by the Fire Integrated Real-Time Intelligence System (FIRIS) operated in a fixed wing aircraft by Orange County Fire Authority. FIRIS has proven to be an incredibly valuable resource for providing real time video intelligence, fire spread projections, and situational awareness during wildfire suppression.

We need about a dozen more FIRIS units.

Calvert Fire
Photo of the Calvert Fire, by AA120, March 1, 2021.

Still another escaped prescribed fire in Southern California:

There is a report that another prescribed fire escaped in California, this time it was Tuesday near Clear Creek Station in the Angeles National Forest. The escape was named Clear Fire.

There were approximately three other wildfires in SoCal Tuesday in Meade Valley and the Perris area.

The article was corrected to indicate that the Calvert Fire was Monday, not Tuesday.

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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.

7 thoughts on “Two escaped prescribed fires in California”

  1. I’m curious if the State shows up in full force for a prescribed burn like they do for a wildfire? I prefer to have all my contingency resources on site for a burn instead of sitting around waiting for IA. Brush these escape fires off and get back in the saddle. Demand hazard pay for prescribed burning and see how many get out of the box.

  2. In this case it would simply appear that they under-promised and over-delivered on the burn plan . . .

  3. It used to be that a wildland fire was a non-structural unplanned fire. A prescribed fire was a planned fire that was intentionally set. If the prescribed fire escaped, it became a wildland fire.

    Fortunately, in January 2019 things changed. The Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation Operations clarified a few definitions in Chapter 1.

    The standards document clarified the definition of “Wildland Fire” as a general term describing any non-structure fire that occurs in the wildland”, and it clarified the definition of “Prescribed Fire” as a wildland fire originating from a planned ignition to meet specific objectives identified in a written, approved, prescribed fire plan”.

    It would seem under the new definition, that the 2 fires started, by definition, as wildland fires and just remained wildland fires.

    1. Wayne – As an old wildland firefighter and prescribed burner, I’d appreciate it if you could explain what you are referring to as “all this nonsense”. Thanks.


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